At the press conference last Thursday, joined by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew, Mr Adcha announced that checkpoints would be set up to catch taxi drivers deemed to be working illegally.
PLTO officers would be supported by police in the hunt for illegal taxi drivers. At the press conference for the announcement were Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Pol Col Jirasak Siemsak and Wichit Police Chief Pol Col Chatri Chukaew.
Mr Adcha repeated that currently only two taxi apps are legal in Phuket: Hello Phuket and Grab.
The two taxi-hailing apps have a total of 365 drivers registered to provide taxi services. Hello Phuket has 228 drivers registered, Grab has 111 drivers registered and 26 drivers are registered with both apps, he said.
Mr Adcha also repeated that the PLTO had created stickers for private cars to use so they could be easily identified. The stickers are to indicate that the taxi has been registered through a legal application and has been certified by the PLTO.
Continuing to refer to taxi-app drivers as ‘black plate’ taxis, Mr Adcha said that “measures” were to be taken by officials against taxi drivers deemed to be illegal.
As such, a checkpoint was set up in front of Central Festival Phuket shopping mall on the bypass road on Tuesday night (Apr 4), with Wichit Police officers present.
The espoused aim of the checkpoints was to “prevent quarrels between taxi service providers”. However, the campaign is targetting drivers using specific ride-sharing apps to pick up passengers, namely Bolt and inDriver.
Of note, the checkpoint on Tuesday night was set up at the same location where a ‘green plate’ taxi driver harassed and verbally abused a woman picking up passengers in a car that has been approved by the PLTO to use with the “approved” apps.
The ‘green plate’ taxi driver, operating at Central Festival was never held accountable for his behaviour, and did not even present himself at Wichit Police Station after the incident.
The checkpoint at Central Festival was in operation from 6pm to 9pm on Tuesday night. Officers stopped and checked any vehicles whose drivers were suspected of operating illegally as taxi drivers.
Throughout the three hours, officers found one driver deemed to be operating illegally. The PLTO marked in its report that its officers were taking action against the driver, and were to “consider” suspending the driver’s licence.
Of note, the PLTO has a habit of using the word “consider” in its reports when the exact action “considered” is actually taken.
agogohome | 09 April 2023 - 17:36:24