Officials try again to bring taxis to heel
PHUKET: Phuket authorities have announced that they will begin meeting with taxi rank leaders tomorrow (July 4), as part of a fresh attempt to solve taxi and tuk-tuk problems, including unregistered vehicles, violence against passengers and “influential people” supporting the drivers.
Tuesday 3 July 2012, 12:15PM
Vice-Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada said authorities, including police and officials from the Provincial Transport Office (PTO), would meet taxi leaders and representatives to encourage them to join a system to get vehicles registered and to improve standards of service.
They have set themselves a target of at least three meetings a week, either at local government offices or at the taxi ranks, until they have met drivers from every one of the island’s 100-plus taxi groups.
“We will start with drivers from taxi groups who we think are more likely to cooperate with us,” said V/Gov Chamroen. Tomorrow’s meetings will include taxi groups at Central Festival and Big C on the Phuket Town bypass road.
The new attempt was sparked by a meeting on June 22 between local officials and Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who has ordered them to wipe out “local mafias” in 90 days.
At the meeting, Mr Chalerm ordered Phuket authorities to solve the taxi problems, especially by diminishing the role of influential people who support taxi drivers when there are problems.
The officials explained to Mr Chalerm how they had tried last year to enlist taxi and tuk-tuk drivers in Kata and Karon into a system to improve standards but had to postpone it indefinitely because drivers and local authorities would not cooperate.
Mr Chalerm therefore urged police to join the drive to tackle taxi problems.
Police were assigned to search for information on influential people and taxi leaders, believed to be the root of taxi problems, then collaborate with Phuket authorities to solve taxi problems.
“There is nothing that police will not know,” Mr Chalerm said.
The nicknames of some of the influential people were mentioned at the meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday (July 3), but without any more detail.
Phuket authorities have made multiple attempts to control taxis and tuk-tuks over the years, all of which failed, usually due to the uncooperative attitude of drivers, backed by pressure behind the scenes from influential people.