As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage Thailand, taxi drivers in the nation’s capital, Bangkok, have come up with a novel approach to protest the government’s limitations while simultaneously helping the local populace obtain the needs of everyday life.
Taxi drivers in Bangkok have been struggling financially for the past year as visitors, one of the country’s primary economic stimulators, have declined.
In interviews with the media, some taxi drivers reported that on a good day, they only had five customers, while on a bad day, they only get one customer or none at all.
As a result of the decline in demand for taxi services in the city, many taxi drivers have been compelled to return to their rural home areas, leaving many cabs in so-called “taxi graveyards” lying idle and abandoned.
The Ratchaphruek Taxi Cooperative saw an opportunity to create a silver lining and converted the roofs of idle taxis into little vegetable gardens. They believe the gardens would provide food for the company’s drivers and other staff who are currently jobless.
According to a BBC story, the procedure is straightforward but ingenious. Small patches of fertile land can be created by covering the surface area with soil and stretching black trash can liners across bamboo frames.
Chillis, basil, cucumbers, courgettes, and spring onions are just a few of the products that have been successfully produced in these makeshift farms so far. The company hopes that the produce will eventually be sold at local markets as well, rather than just being used to feed the families.
According to Thapakorn Assawalertkun, a company owner, this is their last resort. “There is no risk to taxis from growing vegetables on the roofs because most of them are already damaged. The vehicles’ engines and tires are also damaged. The situation is hopeless.”
As the situation in Thailand worsens, a growing number of people and organizations are calling for the resignation of Thailand’s current leader, Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Several people in Bangkok are fed up with the escalating number of COVID-19 infections and have taken to the streets in violent protest. The delayed vaccination rate has had a domino effect, forcing many businesses to close.