PLTO director Sommai Sutkhao told The Phuket News, “I had a meeting with relevant officials and representatives from local transport associations to discuss reducing taxi fares last month. However, the idea was dismissed by them immediately.
“The reason they gave for not wanting to reduce the fares was because they use a queuing system in the areas in which they work. They said if the prices were reduced this system would not work,” he said.
Mr Sommmai explained that he understands that the cost of living in Phuket is too high, however, he said that if fares were reduced it would affect many people’s livelihoods.
“We can only ask the drivers to treat customers fairly and we have requested that if people travel less than 4 kilometres they should consider charging cheaper fares. The representatives said they would discuss this with their drivers and send a letter of confirmation back to my office with their decision,” he said.
“So far have not receive such letters, but for the time being we have asked them to treat customers fairly by not charge a high price.
“We continue to receive complaints from people about fares in Phuket being high, but most of the complaints we received via our call centre lack information about the taxi that serviced them, so officials can not proceed with further action.
“If you have complaint against public transport drivers, please get their licence plate number so we know who to call,” he added.
Mr Sommmai also confirmed that taxi fares on the island will not increase if the Transport Ministry approves a 5 per cent increase rate this year.
“We will use the fares set out by the Provincial Office on December 25, 2012, ” he said.
Deputy Transport Minister Ormsin Chivapruck said the Transport Ministry is considering approving a 5% increase on taxi fares this year, on Aug 15.
In 2014, the ministry agreed to raise taxi fares by 13%. However, it only granted an 8% increase, holding back the rest until drivers could prove they had improved their services. (See story here.)
The PLTO considered lowering the island’s taxi fares following a video of a Thai speaking westerner complaining about the cost of a taxi on the island going viral.
The video clip was initially uploaded by Facebook user, Jack Brown on the afternoon of June 18 and by the next morning it had amassed more than 105,000 views and 11,000 Likes. (See story here.)