More rain pounds South but help also on the way
South still gets persistent rain
Director-General of the Thai Meteorological Department Wanchai Sakudomchai has issued Weather Warning no.19 for Jan. 19-21 that there will be isolated heavy to very heavy rain in the South especially in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat with possibilities of severe conditions, flash flood and landslide in likely areas. Staying updated with the weather news is suggested.
During Jan. 19-25, another high-pressure from China is covering upper Thailand resulting in 3-5°C drop in temperature in the area. For Bangkok during Jan. 22-25, temperature will drop 1-3°C with 21-23°C at the lowest. More rain can be expected in lower South from Surat Thani downwards with strong wind and 2-3 meters waves. Small boats should stay ashore.
Flood victims to get credit card relief
The Bank of Thailand said in its release that it is asking for cooperation from financial institutions, non-bank credit card service providers, nano-finance providers and specialized financial institutions (SFIs) to look into possible ways of helping those affected by the Southern floods.
The BOT itself is allowing credit card operators to lower the required minimum payment of affected cardholders’ monthly balance from 10% starting now until the end of June.
Flood victim status proven, cardholders who pay less than 10% of the due balance will not be classified as the typical 30- to 90-day overdue special mention loans.
Other measures recommended by the BOT in the letter to financial institutions includes injecting liquidity; waiving interest/fees and relaxing payment conditions to allow debtors to repair their residences plus keep their jobs/business through the tough time; and submit debts report to the central bank on a monthly basis starting January.
Top: Financial help is on the way for Southern flood victims who face even more heavy showers. Photo: Patipat Janthong from Bangkok Post
Traffic kills 20% emergency patients
Following recent viral video clip of a pick-up truck not giving way to an ambulance with its emergency beacons on, National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEM) secretary-general Anucha Sethasathian revealed the institute’s statistics on Monday that 20% of the deaths of emergency patients while on the way to hospitals is caused by traffic problems.
The stats also showed that some motorists did not understand that they should give the right of way to an ambulance rushing to a hospital without being required to do so by law even though most of the patients in ambulances have heart disease, high-blood pressure and critical diabetic symptoms, or sustained injuries from violent accidents.
Inset: Images grabbed from a video clip showing a pick-up truck not giving way to an ambulance which has zoomed through the Internet.
Bus reform bringing in 67 new routes
Deputy Transport Minister Pichit Akrathit said the Transport Ministry has a public bus service reform plan for Bangkok. It includes adding 67 bus routes from 202 to 269; covering a larger area of the capital with the total distance going up by 20% from 6,437 km to 7,833 km; and shortening each existing route by around 3 kilometers to enhance service effectiveness.
According to Mr Pichit, the key reform goal is to turn the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) into one of the bus operators instead of the regulator which would increase competition among other operators as well.
He also said the reform plan, besides the route management, includes regulating bus services in Bangkok and surrounding provinces; developing service potential among bus operators; ensuring effective control; and dealing with bus infrastructure management.
Transport Minister Mr Arkhom said that the Department of Land Transport (DLT), which now regulates city bus operations instead of BMTA, will have to set up a new bus management division to oversee routes, bus operators licensing and bus driver criteria among other issues which would take some time but they are all underway.
Below: The legendary Bus no.8 famous for its fast, reckless and furious driving seen in a road accident with a sedan.
Food delivery business has new player, Uber
Uber no longer just offers rides via smartphone, its new app, UberEats, lets you order meals in the same way from 100 restaurants covering 24 cuisines.
The US-based UberEats adds more spice to the Thai food delivery industry by joining existing key players such as Singapore-based GrabEat which also runs Grab, an Uber-like transport app, Berlin-based Foodpanda and Tokyo-based Line Man among others.
Area of service is still limited to Sathon, Silom, Pathumwan, Phloenchit, Nana, Asok, Phrom Phong, Thong Lor, Ekamai and Chinatown. You can order your chow daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with 30-45 minutes wait time.
The App is available from both iOS app store and Google Play Store.
By Piboon Awasdaruharote