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Phuket's meter taxis may start picking up passengers across the island, but higher fares loom

PHUKET: Changes to Phuket’s meter-taxi system, including introducing higher fares for customers, will hopefully encourage drivers to collect customers from other areas of town too, says Jaturong Kaewkasi, a senior officer from the Land Transport Office.

By Naraporn Tuarob

Wednesday 30 October 2013, 05:26PM

Meter taxis line up at the arrivals terminal.

Meter taxis line up at the arrivals terminal.

At the moment, meter-taxis are operating from the Phuket International Airport, because it is here they are guaranteed a B100 surcharge on trips.

Picking up customers from other areas was not profitable, because there was no guaranteed surcharge, he told The Phuket News this afternoon (October 30).

Taxi meters are allowed to pick up passengers from anywhere on the island, but no one does. But I think once the new fares are introduced, this will change, because they will earn more money.

We are trying to convince drivers that once the new fare system is introduced, they will be able to get business easily from other areas, and people will hail them down.

"We also want to persuade the drivers to set up points in town and other areas, so they don’t only have to start from the airport," he said.

There are currently around 139 meter taxis on the island, but they have been marginalised at the airport by the powerful limousine co-operatives and are hard to find.

But new rules allowing meter taxis only to pick up customers from Phuket International Airport – with other taxis being allowed only to drop off customers – plan to be rolled out by the end of the year.

But the new plan for the meter taxis will also bring a price hike, meaning drivers will likely earn more money.

Three plans are proposed under the fare hike, which is proposed in order to cover the increased costs of gasoline and labour on the island since 2003, when prices were last revised.  



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