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Kamala taxi drivers vow to end violence

PHUKET: To prevent more violent reactions by taxi queue drivers in Kamala, discussions led by Phuket officials yesterday (Oct 4) tabled having 15 locations designated as pick-up and drop-off points for passengers using “other transport services”.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 5 October 2022, 04:07PM

At the meeting, held at  Kamala Police Station, local taxi operators vowed to the Kathu District Chief they would not cause any violent incidents to affect the image of Phuket tourism again, claimed a report by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket).

Present at the discussions were Kathu District Chief Siwat Rawangkul, the Kamala Police Chief, Phuket Tourist Police officers, officials from the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO), Kamala Tambon Administrative Organisation (OrBorTor) Deputy President Jaroon Kobkoi and an assortment of Kamala taxi operators.

The meeting resolved five key points “by agreement”, said the PR Phuket report.

First, the taxi operators are to acknowledge the results of the action of the relevant government agencies if they cause disturbances in their occupation, such as being prosecuted according to relevant laws, said the report.

That included the need to order the revocation, seizure or suspension of a public transport vehicle or driving license, and the need to send any drivers for “training”, if required, the report added.

Second, the taxi operators are also to recognise the decisions made by the PLTO in case an app is not operating within the confines of the law. “The Department of Land Transport has requested cooperation from the Ministry of Digital Affairs to deal with apps that violate the relevant laws,” the report noted.

Third, while waiting for police action on any incident, the PLTO is to investigate and strictly enforce the law regarding the violation of any laws involving public taxis. This is to be done “by allowing operators to help by being the eyes and ears” of officials, the PR Phuket report said.

The breaking of any laws regarding taxis and their drivers will result in prosecution, the report assured.

Fourth, there are to be no more incidents involving violence, “as shown in the news”, the report continued. All operators involved must discuss concerns and come to an agreement within the group “so that serious incidents will not affect them, and which will definitely affect the image of tourism again”, the report said.

The fifth, and most important point, was, “If all operators comply with the terms of the agreement successfully, the relevant government agencies will expedite the determination of 15 designated pick-up and drop-off points in Kamala in accordance with the relevant laws.”

The report did not elaborate on exactly who will be determining where the 15 “pick-up, drop-off points”, called “taxi ranks” anywhere else in the world, will be located.

The report also did not make it clear exactly which taxi drivers will be allowed to pick up or drop off passengers at the 15 locations.

Also of key importance, despite some reports claiming that the result of the meeting being a certainty, the fifth point literally began with the word “If”.

Officials are maintaining their focus, and trying to shift the public spotlight on reporting the incident in Kamala last Saturday night, on taxi apps operating illegally.

The taxi-app driver, a woman, who was accosted and had her car damaged by a taxi queue driver in front of Cafe del Mar had picked up the order to pick up the passenger through the JustGrab app.

As of June 13 this year, JustGrab (operated by GrabTaxi), is allowed to pick up and drop off passengers in only two areas: 1) Phuket Town, 2) Patong-Karon.

Without reasons explained, JustGrab drivers in Phuket are not allowed to pick up or drop off passengers anywhere outside of the two zones.

Of note, the JustGrab driver involved in the incidetn was fined B2,000 and had her driver’s licence suspended for 30 days for her part in the incident - that is, for turning up in front of Cafe del Mar to pick up a passenger.

The taxi-queue driver who damaged her car "agreed" to pay B5,000 in damages to her vehicle, and also had his licence suspended for 30 days.

However, the taxi-queue driver, unlike the JustGrab driver, suffered no financial penalty for his violent behaviour in the incident.


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christysweet | 06 October 2022 - 10:29:23

Class. Action. Lawsuit.

JohnC | 06 October 2022 - 08:27:14

What a load of BS. Everyone knows a leopard can't change it's spots. Asking Phuket's infamous taxi/tuk tuk mafia to behave without violence and do what is best for the island's image is like asking the brown bears not to shake down gullible tourists. In other words, an impossibility! They will never comply...

Prab | 06 October 2022 - 08:12:51

what a joke....

Capricornball | 05 October 2022 - 22:19:31

Complete farce of a meeting, with mafia bosses (PLTO) being the ones to determine where the apps can come and go, with promises to control the behavior of the criminal cartels like the ones that occupy CafedelMar. Funny how the Governor wasn't there...just the mafia, cartel members, and the police and officials that protect them. This issue keeps stinking worse and worse every day.

Kurt | 05 October 2022 - 21:33:32

Unbelieveble, what transport wise is going on corrupt Thai Phuket, with blessings of the highest local officials. It is a openly shameless happening. Phuket government is a mixture of corrupt officials and transport mafia. With mafia on top of the Officials. How a simple tourist island sinks down and is complete in hands of gangsterdom. What a mess.

skorchio | 05 October 2022 - 20:15:57

Rather a silly situation that an App, used accross the country is not allowed in certain postcodes on this most important of Thai islands. Where is the BKK Govt on this?

Fascinated | 05 October 2022 - 19:32:42

Less about crime, more about 'image' says it all.15 places means 15 more places where the drivers will intimidate people trying to legally park on 'their' bit of the PUBLIC road. What a sham.

Old guy | 05 October 2022 - 17:16:44

So, you have to be picked up AND dropped off at one of the 15 approved spots. Of course, these won't be near any popular location since the mafia controls them.
How long will it take for tourists to realize what Thailand is like? 


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