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Phuket airport taxi fares raising concerns already

Phuket airport taxi fares raising concerns already

PHUKET: Tourists finally returning to Phuket has been underway just days since the Phuket Sandbox reopening last Thursday (July 1) and already airport taxi prices are causing concern, with Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) Chief Banyat Kantha responding with a public statement about how much taxis from the airport should cost.

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Monday 5 July 2021, 01:20PM

Mr Banyat in a post online ‒ in Thai language only ‒ confirmed that the taxi fare of B900 from Phuket International Airport to a hotel in Patong was an old rate.

His response came after a post online about the taxi fare started going viral, even among the Thai community.

Mr Banyat specifically responded to a Facebook post by Nattakorn Ruengroj, a registered tour guide who operates his own tour company in Phuket, posing serious questions about the fares being charged by taxi drivers in Phuket.

Mr Nattakorn shared posts online by foreigners trying to figure out what fares are being charged, and what fares are considered appropriate.

Mr Nattakorn’s post was also tagged in Thai with “#sameoldproblem #classicproblem.

“If you can [charge] do less, please do. To all operators in the tourism industry. The first group of tourists is our leading actors and actresses in our Phuket tourism advertisement that they have to pay for us. If the taxi fare is overpriced, who will help us? #donotruinourreputationbysameoldproblem,” he wrote.

Mr Nattakorn told The Phuket News yesterday (July 4) that he was shocked after seeing the post by the foreigner about the taxi fares.

“I do not want to use the word ‘take advantage’, but the fare is overpriced for this situation. When the pandemic first came, they could reduce the fare to B400 for [fares from the] airport to Patong. Why don’t they think of the tough time?” he said.

“Some of the tourists were invited to come to promote Phuket tourism. If they are not satisfied and post about their negative experience, what will we do? Will tourists want to come if they are taken advantage of like this?” he asked.

“Tourists come to Thailand because of our great hospitality, delicious foods and beautiful nature which is different to their home countries,” Mr Nattakorn said.

“I want to remind operators to think of Phuket as a priority. Do not take advantage of tourists in this situation. You know well what you are doing,” he concluded. 

The post Mr Nattakorn shared was a screenshot of another post, saying, “Quick Question. My hotel wants to charge me 900 baht one way from the airport to Patong, the what I would call first side when you come down the hill into town, Holiday Inn Express. I know in the past I have not paid that much to get to Patong, same hotel, and I see some people paying 700 through their hotel.

“Wondering if we can just get the SHA+ ride at the airport and has anyone done that and knows the prices from the airport independent of the hotel?” the post asked. 

Mr Banyat explained that PLTO officers had checked the post and found that the foreigner who made the first post had not yet come to Thailand but was scheduled to arrive on July 14. The tourist has stayed at the hotel several times before, Mr Banyat said.

“The B900 fare is the old rate by the hotel, but right now it is reduced to B600-700. We have checked the bill of taxi fare and found that the hotel really charged about B600-700,” he said. 

Phuket Property

Mr Banyat noted in his response, “However, there is no law setting for taxi rate fares, we asked taxi drivers of the two companies at the airport.”

The explanation is intended to mean that there are no laws regulating the fares charged by taxi drivers operating out of Phuket airport under a concession with Airports of Thailand. The fares charged are set by negotiation, both between the taxi drivers and AoT in setting a general schedule of fares deemed acceptable to the two parties, and by negotiation between the drivers and their passengers.

“A driver of the Phuket Mai Khao Sakhu Co Ltd [identified by the initials ‘P.M.K. on the sides of their vehicles] about the fare and were told that before this they charged B800, but from the middle of last year they have given 20% off discount, or charged about B640 for [trips from] the airport to Patong,” he said.

“A driver of  the Phuket Limousine and Business Services Cooperative [PBC] told us that the company will have a meeting on July 5 about giving discounts for tourists under the Phuket Sandbox scheme,” he added in his post last night.

The Phuket News interviewed Mr Banyat this morning, but he would only reiterate what was explained in his post, which went live online at 9:46pm last night through the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department.

“Nowadays, the taxis with green license plates which operate out of the airport areas can be called for service by the ‘Hello Phuket’ app. A total 675 taxi drivers have registered and joined the app. The fare is set according to the taxi meter rate as announced by the Ministry of Transport,” he said.

The Phuket News notes that the ’Hello Phuket’ app refers to only one transport company in Phuket (see here and here).

Mr Banyat also did not comment on any of the other comments by foreigners posted with the initial post about being charged B900.

The comments confirmed that foreigners were still being charged a variety of different fares, even for journeys of the same distance.

“Didn’t seem to be any other taxis at the airport so book something,” one foreigner wrote.

“I booked through a travel agency and they charged me 900 Bhat,” said another.

“I just paid 1,000 one way,” another foreigner confirmed, while “1,200 baht” is all one person posted.

Another foreigner confirmed, “THB 800 to patong Palmyra resort”.

One foreigner reported, “Mine 1350 baht to Kata Noi beach one way from the airport” while another confirmed, “In normal situation 600 baht to Kata”.

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Kurt | 06 July 2021 - 18:55:16

@Timothy,  It's simple, the Phuket transport mafia is stronger that the Phuket Government. So, cowardice, instead of 'ordering' fare settings Officialdom  shuffles the whole affair in shoes of AOT. Nothing will change, no one loose face, and Phuket keeps her scam image. TIP ( this is phuket).

Christy Sweet | 06 July 2021 - 13:10:32

Authorities will do nothing to rein in the transportation cartel because these are their family members making 3 x the daily minimum wage on one trip. Until people boycott, it will not change.  

JohnC | 06 July 2021 - 09:16:05

Sounds like K. Nattakorn knows his own people far too well, asking them (almost pleading with them) not to take advantage of tourists in this situation. Yes, we know only too well in normal times the attitude is rip them off for as much as you can get but please don't shoot yourselves in the feet again! Try not to be so greedy!

Timothy | 06 July 2021 - 09:11:44

Why is the AOT in charge of negotiating taxi fares?? Why can't Phuket have the same taxi fares as Bangkok? The traffic here is much lighter and trips take less time. No reason to be charging 4 times more. Why are all taxis not equipped with meters? Land Transport Department. Fix this once and for all. Make taxis here operate like Bangkok. Same price and hail a cab anywhere. 

joslater | 06 July 2021 - 04:31:10

For the last 18 years ( except last year)I have arrived in Phuket and went to the same place in Karon. For at least the last 4 years I have been charged 1100 to 1200 Baht. This pricing is outrageous. In my opinion the government should step in and regulate the taxi service.

Fascinated | 05 July 2021 - 19:01:13

I couldn;t laugh any harder if the PM had come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID whilst on the island. Ohm hang on!! Same, same, but different shirts on sale. This has been an ideal opportunity to crush the tuk tuk and taxi mafias once and for all but again- catastrophic fail. With they eyes of the world on Phuket its just another shot in the foot.

Xi_Virus | 05 July 2021 - 17:12:13

The Phuket News:: Please try book a trip from Airport anonymously and share your experience with everyone else, Thank you.

A friend of mine (Thai) who booked taxi using online app, was over-charged by the driver and once he questioned the fare he was told that "It's like this in Phuket".

Kurt | 05 July 2021 - 14:41:48

It is clear that Mr Banyat doesn't understand what sealed taxi meters are for.  The Phuket money blood sucking transport mafia gets on steam full ahead again. Phuket was, is and always will be a tourist scam.

Espanol | 05 July 2021 - 14:34:27

Only 490 bahts, same service to same hotel in "Hello Phuket" App.

Espanol | 05 July 2021 - 14:19:06

THB 800 to Patong Palmyra Resort, one way from the airport.

And I cannot choose, because I am obliged to contract with the hotel the transportation service from the airport, if I want to request the COE.

Capricornball | 05 July 2021 - 14:05:32

No surprise that the first negative response is related to taxis at the airport. Lifelong issue here, yet they continue to be allowed to hurt tourism. At the same time, “The B900 fare is the old rate by the hotel, but the hotel really charged about B600-700”, which means that hotel people are also scalping tourists, adding 200-300 baht onto taxi fares for their own pockets. The greed never sto


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