Famous street vendors in Bangkok are open to go to the right places

A representative of street vendors in Bangkok said today that street food and other vendors are open to the city’s plan to move them to designated areas, provided the new locations are useful and practical.

In response to Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sitipunt’s plan to force street vendors to operate in 31 areas designated as Singapore-style hawker centers, the head of the Bangkok Vendors Association said merchants were willing to move if it did not hurt their business.

“I own a salesman who stopped myself and after talking to fellow salesmen they are willing to make the change as they usually don’t like hanging out in the same place,” said Rewat Choptham. Coconut. “They’re willing to pay local taxes because it’s their own place.”

He said city officials should meet with the vendors to discuss the details, at which point, “we can move on.”

But he added that the new sites should be practical.

“Everyone is ready to move if the new areas can give them a chance to sell,” Al-Riwat said. “No one wants to move if they can’t sell the way they used to. They won’t know how to start over if they are selling in a new area.”

He noted that the city had tried in the past to ban street vendors in places like Siam Square.

“In the past, the city didn’t want them to move but to stop them,” he said.

In fact, the military embarked on a cleanliness and order campaign after seizing power in 2014. Popular but chaotic markets such as Khlong Thom and Saphan Lek in the old quarter were closed, and many vendors who were everywhere queued up in places like Silom Road and Siam Square and Thonglor.

While many residents were glad they were gone, others lamented the loss of the vibrant street culture for which the Thai capital is famous.

In some cases, the government offered new areas for business that sellers complained were remote and impractical.

Rewat cited failed efforts to move vendors to places such as Urvong Junction in Ratchathwey district.

“We tried to set it up three times, and it cost us a lot of money,” he said. That area was the parking lot for garbage trucks in Pathum Wan. They tried to turn it into a market, but it wasn’t suitable for anyone involved. It had a one-way street that proved inconvenient to many.”

Al-Riwat stressed that any transportation should help street vendors and not be a nuisance to anyone else.

“I hope there will be enough space wherever they move,” Rewat said. “When Aswin Kwanmuang was a ruler, he was able to find areas, but it proved to be bad for sellers as they could not sell their products as they used to.”

He suggested that Chadchart consider private property, even though it may be expensive. He said that renting a storefront somewhere like the Platinum Mall in Pratunam costs upwards of 70,000 Thai baht ($1,912) which would be “impossible” for sellers.

On Tuesday, Chadchart announced that the city would designate more than two dozen areas for unorganized street vendors to operate. For example, he suggested that one could be set up at Pran Nok Market, near Thonburi Hospital on the Thonburi side of the river.

The goal, he said, is to provide affordable food for everyone and allow vendors to continue to earn a living without obstructing the sidewalks.

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