The Motorcycle- Taxi

Let’s imagine the following scenario. You are meeting a friend of yours. You met him years ago and he/she lives in Bangkok and you meet up, every time you get back to Thailand. But this time, the jet- lag knocked you out. You fell asleep and now you are much too late. How to get to your friend?

Skytrain, Metro? …they are simply going nowhere near where you have to go. 

Bus, Taxi or Tuk Tuk? It is 5:30 pm…the traffic outside is hellish.

You will 100% miss your date…unless….

You figure out there is one last chance and it is the motorcycle taxi. It will be fast. It will be cheap and it will be the public transport equivalent of a looping roller coaster, only without the seatbelt. 

They simply go everywhere. Head on into oncoming traffic, on the pedestrian walk ways, wrong way into a one-way street. They simply don’t care as long as they keep on moving forward.

The chauffeur of your choice

In my early years in Bangkok, I simply refused to use motorcycle taxis. And even when I started out on my first rides, it took me a lot of self containment not to close my eyes, hold on tight to the driver and constantly scream like a little girl.

I admit it. I am not of the courageous kind but motorcycle taxis, even today and from time to time, scare me shi….they scare me a lot. 

First of all, they go fast at every given opportunity. If they spot a traffic light that will change to red in 8 seconds and they are still 300 meters away, they will try to make it.

Also, they are naturally the weakest of all traffic participants (not counting bicycles and pedestrians). The bus, the truck and the car. They are all natural enemies of the motorcycle- taxi.

And then there are the helmets. The drivers usually use a proper model. But if you get offered one (and that will not happen every time), it usually is the kind of helmet you use in Europe to make a salad in.

I have seen everything from children’s helmets to hard hats, usually used on a construction sight. Most of them would offer the same protection to your head that a plastic bag would offer to a ripe watermelon (that you throw out of the 5th floor of a building.) It would only protect your head if you slam into truck with a load of down feather pillows…

So why on Gods green Earth would anyone get on the back of a motorcycle taxi?

It is, at least for shorter distance, the fastest and cheapest way around. Simple as that.

You have to be small and agile to get through that...

If you ever had to keep an appointment in Bangkok and you got stuck in traffic (e.g. 99% of all appointments you ever had), you will absolutely be grateful to the swarm of angry hornets in the form of a motorcycle.

Maybe you hurt your back. Maybe you age 3 or 4 years due to the terror of cutting between a bus and a pick up at 90 km/h with no helmet…but you will be on time and will not lose a fortune to do so.