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No action against Phuket taxi driver over fares

No action against Phuket taxi driver over fares

PHUKET: No action will be taken against the Phuket taxi driver who found himself at the centre of a media storm last week after a social media post by a Thai tourist went viral after reporting that the taxi fare amounted to B200 per kilometre.

tourismtransport
By The Phuket News

Tuesday 15 December 2020, 03:40PM


The taxi driver involved speaks with Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO) Chief Policy Specialist Praprai Sounkul last Tuesday (Dec 8). Photo: PLTO

The taxi driver involved speaks with Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO) Chief Policy Specialist Praprai Sounkul last Tuesday (Dec 8). Photo: PLTO

“Is it the normal rate. I thought I was in a taxi in a foreign country,” the woman wrote in a social media post on Dec 7.

The post went viral and prompted Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew last Friday (Dec 11) to order local transport officials to respond.

Praprai Sounkul, Chief Policy Specialist at the Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO), told The Phuket News today (Dec 15) that a team of officers was assembled after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew ordered an investigation into the incident.

The officers located the driver near the Limelight shopping mall in Phuket Town on Dec 8, Mr Prapai explained.

The taxi involved was “green plate” taxi, which does not use a meter, he added.

Under Land Transport regulations, such taxis are called “chartered taxis”, for which only maximum fares have been set.

Mr Prapai declined to name the taxi driver involved, but confirmed that the driver was a man, about 60 years old.

“The officers asked the taxi driver to come to our office to discuss the incident, and I spoke with him directly,” Mr Prapai said.

“The driver confirmed that on Dec 7 at about 2pm he was called by a motorbike taxi driver informing him that three passsengers from Krabi wanted to take a taxi from the Limelight mall.

“The fare agreed was B200 to take the three passengers and their luggage to a hotel in Phuket Town, a distance of not more than one kilometre,” Mr Prapai explained.

Thanyapura

“He took them to the hotel and unloaded their bags for them and left. The driver said there was no argument and no bad words spoken,” he said.

The PLTO officers contacted the person who posted the complaint that went viral to ask further about the incident, Mr Prapai added.

“The woman said she posted her comments because she felt it was too expensive for the distance,” Mr Prapai said.

“She admitted that her post was more out of emotion, and that she did not intend to shame the taxi driver and did not want to harm Phuket’s reputation,” he added.

“She also pointed out that she posted her comments only on her own Facebook page. She did not post it anywhere else. Other people did that,” he said.

“There will be no action taken against the taxi driver. The fare was negotiated and agreed before the passengers entered the vehicle, and the fare charged did not break the law,” Mr Prapai confirmed.

Regardless, the post struck many raw nerves about the high fares charged by Phuket taxi drivers, often openly called ripoffs, and raised the ugly memory of two Australian tourists filing complaints with the Karon Police in July last year after a passenger van driver charged them B3,000 to take them from Phuket airport to a hotel in Kata, about 50km away.

Speaking to the press last Friday, PLTO Chief Banyat Kantha urged travellers to use the mobile app named “Hello Phuket” to look for taxis and public transport.

Phuket Provincial Police launched the “Hello Phuket” mobile application in August, with 300 taxis joining. It was created to standardise the fares and provide safe public transport services in Phuket.

Mr Banyat said that public transport fees in Phuket should be cheaper during the COVID-19 pandemic because local operators agreed to give a 20% discount to travellers.

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CaptainJack69 | 16 December 2020 - 12:20:07

Thai people don't like to complain to peoples faces and do like to use social media. The effect becomes that they like to complain... on social media. This will keep happening as long as Thai people are being ripped off. And apparently that's going to just keep happening since again no one is doing anything about it.

CaptainJack69 | 16 December 2020 - 12:14:37

The problem is lack of choice. In Bangkok the same service could cost maybe 50B if you just flag down any taxi. Or you could use a Mercedes Benz charter car and pay 1000B. The point is you have a choice. On Phuket it's pay or walk. 'Negotiating' is a mute point where there's only one option available.

LALALA | 16 December 2020 - 10:28:44

Also a ride with a TukTuk inside Patong for 200THB is a rip off. Asuming you come from a developed country 150Thb is usual, but we are talking here about LOS, which is a third world country. So what they doing - as usual - is charging premium 1st world prices for 3rd world service. Land of Scam as usual.

Robin Lee | 16 December 2020 - 09:34:31

I normally advise my friends to hire a car from the airport and return the car at the airport. Saves them airport transfers and travelling within Phuket or nearby provinces.

Pascale | 16 December 2020 - 09:30:03

@Tralala  A ride with a simple TukTuk inside Patong cost 200b. If they would publish every complain on Facebook the PN would need to work overtime. That's why this story here is pathetic. And btw,in my country only to start the taxi will cost you 150b. Only to put this in a perspective.

Kurt | 16 December 2020 - 09:25:14

In Singapore is no transport mafia ruling the island.. No corruption/scam in public transport bodies. On Phuket you are better off to pool with friends. Drive each other, safer driving style and no weapons in the car. Single out the mafia as much as possible.

JohnC | 16 December 2020 - 08:36:04

If you agree to the fare beforehand then you have nobody to blame but yourself and no reason to complain. As the locals say Som Nom Na.

LALALA | 16 December 2020 - 07:34:34

Pascale, 200 bath are around 7 US Dollars. It remains a rip off. FYI, in Singapore it is 4.75 SGD basic plus 0.75 SGD per kilometer. Only to put this in a perspective.

cpfleger | 15 December 2020 - 20:49:17

How unexpected... everything is ok as it was and is, use an app, pray and stay calm remaining in harmony. 
Officials as always doing their very best they can do to serve you - nothing.

Pascale | 15 December 2020 - 17:09:27

So all this clamour on here was about 200baht for a 1km ride ? Pathetic !

Fascinated | 15 December 2020 - 16:46:16

Before the pedantic ones start the last comment was about green plate taxis in general- I am fully aware this lady was not picked up at the airport.

Fascinated | 15 December 2020 - 16:42:36

The fare may have been negotiated but it was a complete ripoff- well done for doing sod all again. Just another Phuket 'mis-understanding and the woman has been made to feel at fault, not the driver- pathetic. Green plate taxis are a con. Way back in the good old days Thai Limosines had the airport contracts and set fares everywhere then the mafias got involved. pathetic.

Sandbar | 15 December 2020 - 16:00:05

The "family" wins again! I bet there was some "Sicilian" music playing in the back ground during the interview? Kiss my "ring"!

 

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