Bangkok, motorcycle taxis, info and tips
Motorcycle taxis are part of the Bangkok traditional picture. They can be found at every corner of the streets and boulevards of the capital. They drain alone thousands of passengers per day. Presentation of these motorbikes of the everyday life.
Motorbike taxis, in Thai “motosai”, are recognizable. All wear an orange chasuble with the driver’s identification number. On the back, the professional card with the name, the photo, etc. of the driver is hung.
99% of motorbike taxis are driven by men.
Motorbike taxis can be found on every street corner in the Thai capital. They form small groups of 4 or 5 drivers. They take turns picking up customers.
The big advantage of the drivers is that they know their neighbourhood perfectly. They are real informers if you are looking for a precise address. They are often much more precise than a GPS and they know a lot about the life of the neighbourhood.
The motorcycle taxi fleet
There is a little bit of everything in the motorbike taxi brands. Most of them offer races with 125 - 150 CC Yamaha or Honda scooters. There are few new vehicles, but whatever the power or brand, it’s perfect for racing. The motorcycles are generally well maintained, although some are old.
Rides are generally quite short. They are usually between two bus, BTS/BRT/MRT stations. Motorbike taxis are not used for journeys of several dozen kilometers. Trips are on average 2 or 3 km at most. The races are often in the neighborhood.
Sometimes, drivers will take two passengers at a time for very short journeys. The fare is obviously higher.
Tips to know
- Beware of peak times. Whether in the morning (07:30-09:00) or in the evening (17:00-19:30), there are many customers and it is sometimes necessary to wait a few minutes.
- When it rains hard enough, the motorbike taxis stop, whether it’s during a race or not.
Helmets must be worn by both driver and passenger. It is sometimes necessary to ask the driver for a helmet. Some drivers do not want to. In this case, you must insist.
The helmet is often a first price or even less. Some motorcycle-taxi offer construction helmets. If for the police there is no problem, for safety it is not so good.
Generally, the helmets are not very new and have been worn by an incredible number of heads… Hygiene can be a difficulty, so it’s recommended to have a cap. You put it on before you put on the helmet.
The big problem with motorbike taxis is speed.
It is important to understand that drivers are paid by the race. The length of the journey is an important parameter. The drivers are therefore very energetic, causing a lot of stress for the passengers. During rush hour, the pace is extremely fast. The target is to drive as many people as possible in as little time as possible.
However, the drivers are very experienced and are quite careful. It happens that some drivers do not inspire confidence, so you just have to change. There is no need to justify yourself, safety must come first.
For the passenger, it’s really important to be careful with the feet. The feet should be straight on the footrests, not in a ducking position. Indeed, when motorbikes pass between cars, they can get very close… a toe can easily get stuck in a bumper!
The price of the race
Generally, if you take a motorcycle-taxi at the station, there is a sign indicating the price of the main races. However, it is strongly recommended to agree on the price before the ride.
Depending on the area or the location of the motorbike taxi stations, the prices change. For example, if you take the motorcycle taxis directly from the Chong Nonsi BTS station, the prices will be higher than the motorbike taxi station located just 300 metres away. For the same ride, there will be a difference of 20 to 30 baht.
The other possibility is to take the motorbike taxis directly in the street. Negotiation is required. But beware, distances are often short and therefore it is not necessary to waste time negotiating for 10 baht.
Finally, for those who are uncomfortable with negotiation, there are applications such as GrabBike.