Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Faster than (Road Runner + Speedy Gonzales) Squared…


Only if you are a real masochist case, you would choose to travel on BKK’s roads during its infamous rush hour, Road Runner would find it hard to cry its famous “Beep-Beep”, Speed Gonzales will not have the heart to scream "Andale! Andale! Arriba! Arriba! Yii-hah!" while being stuck behind an old battered pickup truck.

During the rush hour, there are 3 modes of transport of choice, BTS (aka Sky Train), MRT (aka Subway/Undergrounds) or my favourite… Motorcycle Taxi.

Probably more expansive than all the rest, the price can range from 10 baths to infinity :) their routes mainly cover the small back roads (Soi), but on this day I needed to get to Central Department Store (fast), meaning a 60 baths price tag for a distant of no more than 2.5 kilometres, considering the starting fare in a normal taxi is only 35 baths.

The real gem is of course the ‘Time’ factor, if I had jumped into a 4 wheel taxi it could have easily taken an hour+ to cover the same distant, but in this case the whole trip took no more than 10 minutes… well worth it :) Life insurance is however greatly recommended, as it is like playing Russian Roulette, it all depends on who you get as the driver/rider.

They are also under the pressure of time, a simple correlation, more trips equal more money (unless they get run over by a car). There are unofficial stations dotted all over BKK, where a number of these motorcycles will be waiting, and you always get the same group of drivers/riders at the same station, so over time you’ll get to know your driver/rider of choice, but of course you can not choose as they all take turn to accept customers – hence Russian Roulette…

How can they be identified? Very easily, they all wear brightly single coloured waistcoat, in my office area they all wear ‘purple’. Some say they are closely related to the local gang, well that could be an urban myth.

If you are looking to live life on the edge and need to get somewhere fast, this is another option for your consideration… no helmet needed (totally illegal), more thrill than the best ride at Alton Towers, Cheap (relative to a pint of Guinness) and best of all you can take photographs, smoke or even use your mobile phone while enjoying the fresh wind in your hair, however, most of the time I just prey (honest).