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A songthaew (Malay: dua baris; Thai สองแถว, literally "two rows"; Lao: ສອງແຖວ [sɔ̌ːŋtʰíw]) is a passenger vehicle in Thailand and Laos adapted from a pick-up or a larger truck and used as a share taxi or bus.
The songthaew takes its name from the two bench seats fixed along either side of the back of the truck; in some vehicles a third bench is put down the middle of the seating area. Additionally a roof is fitted over the rear of the vehicle, to which curtains and plastic sheeting to keep out rain may be attached. Some vehicles have roofs high enough to accommodate standing passengers within the vehicle. More typically, standing passengers occupy a platform attached to the rear.
English-speaking travelers in Thailand named them baht bus, in reference to when the usual fare was one baht. In Chiang Mai and its surroundings, locals may call them rot si daeng (literally "car red" - a reference to their most common colour in the area, Thai รถสีแดง), rot daeng, or sometimes si rot.
Songthaews are used both within towns and cities and for longer routes between towns and villages. Those within towns are converted from pick-up trucks and usually travel fixed routes for a set fare, but in some cases (as in Chiang Mai) they are used as shared taxis for passengers traveling in roughly the same direction.
Vehicles on longer routes may be converted from larger trucks for about forty passengers.
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- Slayden, Glenn, ed. (2014-08-15). "baht bus" (Dictionary). Lookup. Thai-language.com. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
รถสองแถว [literally, "vehicle, two rows"]; bus; minibus; baht bus; the pickup truck with benches in the rear which is used as a taxi in rural Thailand
- "Chiang Mai Transport". 2009-03-15. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
- "RED-BUS - รถแดง" (in Thai). NAKORNLANNA CO.,LTD. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
A songthaew loaded with young students on the way home from school. Amphoe Kantharalak (Jan 2005)