Officers from the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) set up a checkpoint at the police box on Phra Baramee Rd in Kathu to catch any illegal taxis heading from Patong towards Phuket Town yesterday (Feb 8).
PLTO Chief Adcha Buachan said that the officers were “checking” taxis with green licence plates that were registered in Bangkok, and any private cars being used illegally as taxis.
Of note, previous “checks” on green-plate taxis by the PLTO in the past week has resulted in legal action against the drivers for operating a taxi illegally in Phuket.
However, officials reports of the checks conducted yesterday made no mention of legal action against any ‘out-of-province’ taxis caught.
The crackdown on fully legal taxis from outside Phuket operating on the island started last week, immediately after a protest at Provincial Hall by representatives of Phuket’s leading ‘green plate’ taxi cartels.
Of particular concern were complaints of foreigners renting vehicles and using them to provide tourist shuttle services in Phuket. Mr Adcha said.
“This greatly affects public taxi operators in Phuket. which is regarded as stealing the occupation of the Thai people,” he said.
Working as a taxi driver is an occupation reserved for Thai people only by law.
The PLTO is now working together with the Employment Office and Phuket Immigration to investigate foreigners working illegally, Mr Adcha said.
Mr Adcha assured that the PLTO was not ignoring the issue of foreigners working illegally as taxi drivers.
However, the focus on foreigners illegally providing taxi services has now been ramped up following a post online by the Phuket Info Center, operated under the Provincial Governor’s office, gaining traction, with many Thais posting comments singling out Russians as the main culprits.
Mr Adcha urged people to report any illegal activities involving taxis by informing the PLTO website, Facebook page or LINE app, or via the Department of Land Transport Complaint Center hotline 1584.
Complaints may also be submitted through the Traffy Fondue app, he said.
JohnC | 10 February 2023 - 09:40:01