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GrabTaxi hikes ‘booking fee’ surcharge

PHUKET: GrabTaxi, the island’s only form of a public ‘taxi company’, has launched a new booking fee for Phuket customers only that ramps up the surcharge to B150 – a fee that GrabTaxi itself admits is the highest in the country.

transporttourismeconomics
By The Phuket News

Sunday 22 July 2018, 10:00AM


GrabTaxi has hiked its ‘booking fee’ surcharge in Phuket to make it the most expensive in the country, where Phuket already by law has the most expensive metered-taxi rates in Thailand. Images: GrabTaxi / Supplied

GrabTaxi has hiked its ‘booking fee’ surcharge in Phuket to make it the most expensive in the country, where Phuket already by law has the most expensive metered-taxi rates in Thailand. Images: GrabTaxi / Supplied

 

GrabTaxi remains the only form of a taxi company in Phuket with all other taxis geared – or dedicated – to serving tourists as “privately hired taxi vehicles”.

A customer service representative at GrabTaxi’s call centre explained to The Phuket News, “We increased the surcharge in November from B50 to B150, but on the meter the surcharge will start from B50.

“Everything we show in the app for customers to see,” the representative added.

Asked why the increase in the “booking fee” applied only to Phuket, the representative explained, “In Phuket there are many hills, (and because of) the fuel costs, including the long distances between each (pickup and drop-off) point.”

Prapai Suankul, Senior Policy Specialist at the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO), confirmed that the “surcharge” hike was legal, and that there was nothing his office could do about it.

Indeed, he said he was unaware of the booking fee hike until he was informed of it by The Phuket News.

“They are not charging any more than the legal amount set by law as the rates. This is a surchage, which is a matter between the customer and the company,” Mr Prapai said.

Mr Prapai thanked The Phuket News for bringing this to his attention. “I will arrange to discuss this matter with the company,” he said.

Mr Prapai admitted that Phuket has – as well known for many years – the most expensive taxi rates in the country.

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“Taxi (meter) prices in Phuket are the highest in Thailand, and there are about 350 metered taxis in Phuket,” he said.

Metered taxis in Phuket charge B50 for the first two kilometres, then B12/km for the next 13km (up to the 15km journey mark), then B10/km thereafter.

The current rates were introduced in 2014. By law, all taxi rates in the country are set by a national committee at the Land Transport Department headquarters in Bangkok.

Also set by law in 2014 was that metered taxis in Phuket were also entitled to charge an additional B100 surcharge in addition to the B50 for those taking a taxi from Phuket Airport.

The current GrabTaxi “surchage” hike also follows the demise of Uber in Phuket. In 2015, Uber was deemed no longer permitted to operate in Phuket, but continued to do so in other parts of the country, including Bangkok.

However, 2015 was the same year that the Malaysian-based “co-operative” GrabTaxi launched in Phuket complete with the Governor at the time openly promoting the service at official press conferences.

In March this year, Uber ceased operations in Thailand entirely under a “merger of resources” with ridesharing service Grab.

In a notice issued to registered members on Mar 26, the company noted, “Uber will be combining our operations with Grab to lead you in the next chapter of ridesharing in Thailand and across Southeast Asia.

“What this means for you: we will be transitioning our services over to the Grab platform by April 8, 2018, so all requests after that date should be made from the Grab app. However, you can still use the Uber app in more than 80 countries around the world.”

 

 

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ematt | 29 July 2018 - 09:29:40

Bitter, negative, and hateful - what a sad way to live one's life....

DeKaaskopp | 28 July 2018 - 17:44:06

"Don't get me wrong,there are some charming aspects of the country" Guess in your case you are talking about some bar beauties! Must be the only reason for the haters to stay here.

Pauly44 | 28 July 2018 - 16:12:50

How very lame, the old don't like it go home mantra, something which is said when the argument is lost. You have obviously assimilated quite well with the 3rd world, who cares mentality in Thailand, don't get me wrong their are some charming aspects of the country but the level of stupidity is simply undeniable for even regular simple minds. 

Christy Sweet | 28 July 2018 - 14:46:02

I don't wonder why I get threats.  Thai sexpats are notoriously offendable.. I'm amused when they get riled up, denying me my views. I've been here 11 years, I know the score very well 
 and so do plenty of others who choose to  not remark  upon it.  Really, race has nothing to do with it,  the culture is what promotes laziness and stupidity. Other Asians are far superior to Thais.

DeKaaskopp | 28 July 2018 - 09:37:39

"Thais ...that is selfish,uncaring.."And you are wondering that you get threats for posting those BS? Here is an advice for you! As you can't live among thais please relocate and stay with your well educated brothers and sisters from your Aryan Race. Other posters here may follow that advice too! No one will miss you here anyway.

Timothy | 28 July 2018 - 08:20:09

I rest my case! All is good. Nothing wrong with the way the most dangerous drivers in the world drive...More comments from a serial sanctimonious Thai apologist.  

Jor12 | 27 July 2018 - 17:03:19

Saying a majority drive like nutters is a singular observation with no basis in fact. But it sounds good on PN.

Christy Sweet | 27 July 2018 - 09:21:37

Thais are not a race. Thais are a nationality within a culture that is selfish, uncaring and exhibits a shockingly low level of education.   I get threats all the time on FB groups for similar statements, mostly from grossly tattooed foreigners.  

Pauly44 | 26 July 2018 - 17:14:20

Yes it's easy to be the Governor of Phuket, just smile, say what everyone wants to hear, then sit back, relax, wait for the carnage, then do it all again, GR8 job!

DeKaaskopp | 26 July 2018 - 16:27:27

"To be a governor on Phuket is a easy job" Of course it is much easier to post" know it all better "comments from ones armchair at home.

Pauly44 | 26 July 2018 - 14:54:26

So saying the majority of Thai's drive like nutters is racists is it?? No, ofcourse it's not, it's simply a factual observation which happens to be true, time to take those blinkers off.

ematt | 26 July 2018 - 09:16:31

Complaining is not racist. Making racist generalisations is racist. And who says the taxis are perfect? Not me. Phuket meter rates are way too high - no one is arguing with that. But metered taxis are still cheaper than so called "local" taxis, and if you  use Grab, they have to use the meter. So to say that metered taxis in Phuket "don't exist" is simply false. 

Jor12 | 26 July 2018 - 08:46:52

Dunno what the fuss is all about. If the taxi company wants to increase fees it's an administrative decision for the company. It has nothing to do with the customer. Simple economics of supply and demand. If the demand is there a company can charge what it likes. The customer has the right to refuse. 

Timothy | 25 July 2018 - 10:06:08

For some, it doesn't matter what the issue. Nothing is wrong. Nothing should be improved. If anyone complains, they are racist??? Even the taxis are perfect here. Can you please explain why it's okay for the taxis in Phuket to operate without meters? Why meter taxis are allowed to charge many times more than a Bangkok taxi. The guys in Bangkok are sitting in traffic much of the day. 

CaptainJack69 | 24 July 2018 - 11:28:01

What if your land-lord suddenly started adding a 200% "surcharge" to you rent? Would that be OK? I mean if the surcharge isn't considered part of the actual rate? Of course it wouldn't be OK!

This is why monopolies are bad,  it was inevitable as soon as GRAB purchased UBER.

Long distances and lots of hills? Nonsense!

ematt | 23 July 2018 - 11:56:32

Re: "Meter taxis in phuket?? What a joke, they don’t exist".  This is, quite simply, false. I take metered taxis 2-3 times per week, either from the stand at the airport or using Grab. With the latter, the booking fee increased from 50 to 150 baht several months ago, but they are still cheaper than the so-called "local taxis".  

Inaccurate generalisations are a disgrace.

Editor | 23 July 2018 - 09:09:42

NOTE:- The Phuket News was informed this morning that a reader took a GrabCar - not a GrabTaxi - from the airport last night and was NOT charged the booking fee...

Kurt | 22 July 2018 - 16:40:45

To be a Governor on Phuket is a easy job. You just join ceremonies, religious or not,  you lie to Ambassadors/Consuls, clean a bit along the roads here and there for publicity purpose.
But one thing you don't touch on Phuket as a governor, that is the maffiose public/tourist transport sector. Why is that sector left alone in her doings?

Discover Thainess | 22 July 2018 - 12:49:57

Meter taxis in phuket?? What a joke, they don’t exist, the drivers NEVER turn them on and just have a strategically placed towel to cover it. Enforcement of meter laws? Ha! 

Phuket is a disgrace. 

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