AS the Covid pandemic has hit Bangkok taxi drivers hard with many of them now no longer able rent cabs it has led to one cooperative turning these unexpired vehicles into a vegetable garden with the produce given to the drivers to consume and any left over sold to restaurants, Sanook.com quoted E-jan as saying today (Sept. 15).
An E-jan news team visited a taxi cooperative in Ratchaphruek area of Bangkok and saw over 300 taxis, all still good for use, parked in the compound. These are no longer being rented by drivers who ever since coronavirus started wreaking havoc cannot earn enough to make it worthwhile renting a cab to drive.
Mr. Thapakorn Asawalertkul, 54, an adviser to Bowon and Ratchaphruek Taxi Cooperative, said previously taxi cooperatives, operators and owners had requested various government agencies for help.
Their action included parking taxis at Finance, Energy and Transport ministries as well as Bang Sue Central Station and Talad Thai market for long stretches.
However despite this no assistance came through to help with interest payment and gasoline. With taxi drivers no longer earning enough income they gradually started returning their cabs with there now being around 2,000 parked at various places in Bangkok.
Currently of the cooperative’s 3,000 taxis just 1,000 are on the road.
Some cooperative employees came up with the idea of growing vegetables such as chilis, basil leaves, eggplant and spring onions on the cab’s roof by putting a bamboo base and covering it with a plastic sheet then placing a planter on top.
These employees are gradually expanding this vegetable garden and taking turns to water the plants with cabbies able to consume them without having to go out to buy. Anything left over is to be sold to restaurants and at wholesale markets.
This also reflects the sad fact that a taxi might cost up to a million baht but if it cannot generate money then it can at least be used to grow vegetables.
The taxi-top vegetable garden. Photos: E-jan and Sanook.com