Bangkok’s ‘taxi graveyard’ brings mini gardens to life

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  • Business has tried up for taxi drivers in Bangkok as Covid-19 restrictions prevent tourists from coming to the country, so many have abandoned their cars
  • Aubergines, courgettes, and frogs grown on the vehicles will help feed out-of-work drivers and their families
Agence France-Presse |
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Vegetable gardens grow on the roofs of taxis at a rental garage in Bangkok. The cars are currently out of service due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: AFP

A mass graveyard for Bangkok’s brightly-coloured cabs left idle by coronavirus curbs is coming to life with mini vegetable gardens and frog ponds.

In an open-air car park in the west of the Thai capital, green shoots fed by monsoon rains sprout from the roofs and bonnets of the rows of pink and orange taxis.

Tiny green-brown frogs squat croaking in the tropical heat on makeshift ponds fashioned out of old tyres, tucked in among the 200 or so abandoned cars.

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The site is owned by Ratchapruk Taxi Garage, which has seen most of its drivers leave Bangkok for their home villages because fares have dried up following lockdown restrictions.

“This is our last option,” Thapakorn Assawalertkun, one of the company owners, said, saying many of the vehicles still had large loans outstanding on them.

Frogs sit in a tyre within a makeshift farm on the bonnet of a taxi. Photo: AFP

“We figured we’d grow vegetables and farm frogs on the roofs of these taxis.”

Thailand has imposed tough restrictions to deal with a deadly spike in Covid cases in recent months, including a curfew.

Tourists, normally a mainstay of the Bangkok taxi trade, have dwindled to almost zero.

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The aubergines, chillies, cucumbers, courgettes and basil grown on the cars - along with the frogs - will help feed the out-of-work drivers and other employees.

And if crops are good, they plan to sell any surplus at local markets.

“Growing vegetables on top of the roofs will not damage the taxis since most of them have already been damaged beyond repair. The engines are broken, and their tyres are flat. There’s nothing that could be done,” Thapakorn said.

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