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Crackdown on illegal Phuket taxi drivers launched

Crackdown on illegal Phuket taxi drivers launched

PHUKET: More than 100 Phuket taxi drivers massed in Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday (Feb 2) to protest people using privately registered cars as illegal taxis. The drivers complained they were losing money to the illegal operators, and called for officials to ramp up efforts to curtail the illegal practice.

By The Phuket News

Friday 3 February 2023, 09:00AM

Phuket Vice Governor Anupap Rodkwan Yodrambam and Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) Chief Adcha Buachan were present to welcome the drivers and receive their formal complaint.

Thinnakorn Chommueang, President of the Patong Taxi Operators Association, said local, legal, taxi drivers had suffered from illegal taxis on the island, “especially those operating through [phone] applications that are not yet certified,” he said.

“Therefore would like to demand that the provincial governor issue a provincial order to government agencies to deal with illegal ‘black taxis’, distinguishing cars that are allowed to operate through the application is proper,” he added.

Legal taxis operating through apps should be easily identifiable, just as vehicles registered with green-coloured licence plates are, Mr Thinnakorn said.

“We also ask the governor to order the PLTO to suspend allowing any vehicles currently undergoing the process of being legally registered from being allowed to be used for work until the process has been completed,” he said.

Mr Thinnakorn also called for “decisive penalty measures” to be implemented as “correct action“. “Because if the fine is too low, the  compensation made from operating illegally would be more than the fine,” he said.

“In addition, there must be strict and severe punishment measures for those who violate Phuket’s orders for bringing the wrong type of vehicle that has not been certified by the transport office to serve customers and tourists,” Mr Thinnakorn continued.

To protect his colleagues’ interests, Mr Thinnakorn also called for the PLTO to suspend processing applications to have any new taxis legally registered, including vehicles brought in from other provinces where the car is already legally registered as a taxi.

For this, he also called for an immediate provincial order to be issued by the governor.

“This impacts ‘business operators’ [sic] who want to do the right thing. Therefore, we are calling for a ban on the registration of vehicles from other provinces. But if permission is granted, it must also be granted to people who come to apply for Phuket’s green licence registration,” Mr Thinnakorn said.

Oddly, however, no complaints have been made public about the PLTO refusing local people from being allowed to register their cars as ‘green plate’ taxis.

Vice Governor Anupap and PLTO Chief Adcha received the formal complaint and thanked Mr Thinnakorn and his fellow drivers for their efforts.


CBRE Phuket

Mr Adcha later held a small press conference to explain his office’s efforts so far in curtailing illegal taxi drivers on the island.

“Claims on social media that the PLTO has done nothing about this are true,” he said.

The PLTO has conducted intensive campaigns on social media warning people to not operate illegal taxis, he said.

“Further, from Sept 9, 2022 to Jan 31, 2023, we have acted on all 90 complaints received about this, with 33 cases resulting in fines, and [the remaining] 57 cases are still being processed,” Mr Adcha said.

“The PLTO will work with the Phuket Provincial Police to monitor and arrest illegal taxis and take strict legal action,” he added.

Mr Adcha invited people to report illegal taxis operating in their area by calling the taxi complaint hotline 1584, contacting the PLTO through its Line account @704jhnxb, through the PLTO Facebook page or by the Traffy Fondue application.

“The PLTO will investigate the facts and take further legal steps,” Mr Adcha assured.


In response to the protest, Vice Governor Anupap, “ acting on behalf of the Governor of Phuket”, yesterday issued a formal notice ordering all government agencies to take action against illegal taxi drivers in Phuket.

The notice, marked “Regarding illegal use of private cars as taxis”, explained, “As there are people who bring illegal taxis to use for passenger pick-up services in the Phuket area, this si causing trouble for and affecting legal public transport operators and affecting the image of Phuket as a tourist city.”

The notice made it clear that operating private cars as taxis was illegal, and that the Phuket Provincial Police and the PLTO were to “consider” revoking the driver’s licence and the vehicle registration of repeat offenders “as punishment as required by law”.

Police and the PLTO were instructed to take active measures in the matter, the notice said.

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maverick | 03 February 2023 - 15:46:05

more schedules bus services please - what happened to the electric bus project in Patong - why are media outlets not asking these questions rather than giving these thugs airtime

Capricornball | 03 February 2023 - 14:39:37

There is nobody on this island, Thai or non-Thai, that give one s#!^ about these lowlife. These cretins are so miserable that they have created the need for an alternative mode of public transport. The gov't needs to show some sack and remove the influence of the PLTO and restore Phuket's image by looking out for the needs and best interest of tourists. Everyone is sick of the thug cartels

Fascinated | 03 February 2023 - 11:39:07

Smug look on his face says it all. the tail continues to wag the dog.We always hear about people 'tarnishing the reputation of Thailand' but when it comes to these thugs they are untouchable. 'We demand'- who does he think he is?

Prab | 03 February 2023 - 10:52:35

must be a joke, if the offer better rates and be polite and welcoming i'm sure they could cometet and do even better... but we know this is just the cartel calling for help and cut the competition.. the usual story every year or so... BTW 12 of my employee as a car with green plate and they are not taxy..just they cut tax... 

Timothy | 03 February 2023 - 10:43:37

So they are taking immediate action against the so called "illegal taxi drivers" because the taxi mafia complained. What about the thousands of complaints from tourists and expats each year about the taxi mafia? Why can we not have a taxi service like BKK? How can the PLTO get away with this for so long? Geez! 

Kurt | 03 February 2023 - 10:22:47

...No wapons on board, no drugs use, no wheel falling off, and we ride safe, drive with the flow,and let the speeding traffic rules ignoring taxis/vans go ahead.

Kurt | 03 February 2023 - 10:18:56

Cartel of 'legal' taxis and  PLTO seems to wake up and want to dictate the Government what to do about changing taxi use setting on Phuket. I am wondering what prevails, the cartel rules or the law, IF the law is actually covering this matter, of course. I am 'member' of a pool that drive each other to and from Phuket airport. Pleasant, safe and sound. No weapons on board,no drugs ...

JohnC | 03 February 2023 - 09:23:02

Perhaps if the "legal" taxis offered decent service at reasonable prices they would get more business and have less competition. Time to stop blaming others for your own limitations and shortcomings.


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