Quality system ‘will improve taxi standards’
PHUKET: Taxis, tuk-tuks and minibuses in Kata and Karon will be the first to be put into a new system devised by police and other officials as part of a rolling attempt to improve standards.
Tuesday 30 August 2011, 11:55AM
The system will also, it is hoped, counter the negative perceptions of Phuket caused by misbehaving taxi and tuk-tuk drivers.
A meeting at Karon Municipality offices today (August 29) agreed that transport ranks will be visited by a committee comprising members of Chalong Police, Karon Municipality, Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) and other relevant government offices.
There are 40 such ranks in Kata and Karon, said Theerayut Prasertpon, the Director of the PLTO, as well as 59 independent taxis roaming in the area.
He added that there are more than 500 taxis, tuk-tuks and mininbuses in the area, but more than half of them are illegal “black” transport.
“The committee will check on the ranks, looking at the condition of the vehicles, drivers’ behaviour and how reasonable their fares are,” Mr Theerayut explained.
“If all members of a rank meet our standards, the Phuket Provincial Government will issue ‘quality’ certificates to each of the drivers.
“We will also post a list of fares at the rank, and promote their services to tourists.”
“If they don’t want to wait to be inspected, drivers in a particular rank can send a request for inspection to the Phuket Provincial Office,” said Vice Gov Niwit Aroonrat, who chaired the meeting.
He added, “We will set up the system in Kata and Karon first, as a prototype for other areas of the island. Strict rules will be needed to control transport.”
He said he believes that the new system, in addition to making tourists feel more safe and ensuring fair prices, will be a powerful tool to persuade drivers of "black" vehicles to register, converting them into legal drivers.
He also warned, “There will be rules for drivers to comply with. If they don’t, their quality certificate will be revoked. Without the certificate they will not be allowed to drive a vehicle for hire.”
Standard prices will be posted at each rank that passes inspection, and any driver who overcharges or who drags tourists to shops that pay commissions for delivering customers, will lose his quality certificate.
Pornthep Chamkao, the leader of the Kata and Karon taxi drivers, said of the initiative, “It may reduce drivers’ incomes, but we’ll accept it because it’s a sustainable way to run taxi services.”
The inspections will start at the beginning of next month.