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Phuket muscles in on Patong taxi, tuk-tuk drivers over parking spaces

PHUKET: Tuk-tuk and taxi drivers in Patong today were given until Thursday (Aug 3) to enjoy their current status as parking space kingpins before they will be relegated to occupy only 21 taxi ranks in Phuket’s busiest resort town, instead of the 84 they now operate.

patong, tourism, transport, crime, police,

The Phuket News

Monday 31 July 2017, 05:51PM

The news was handed down by the Provincial Public Transportation Committee (PPTC) at Patong Police Station this morning (July 31).

About 30 of the “public transport” drivers waited outsided the police station while the news was delivered. Many of them carried worried expressions on their faces.

Inside the police station, leading representatives for Patong’s legion of drivers were shown a map pinpointing the exact locations of where the 21 taxi ranks, or “stands” as they are called by officials, will be.

Present in the meeting room were officers from Patong Traffic Police, Kathu District Office, Phuket Land Transport Office as well as soldiers from the Royal Thai Army 25th Infantry regiment, based in Phuket.

Patong Traffic Police Chief Maj Ekkarat Plaiduang explained that his officers were only following orders.

“We have to do our job as ordered by the PPTC, which is to inform all drivers in Patong of the new rules over the next three days. After then, the new public parking regulations will apply,” he told The Phuket News.

With PLTO Chief Banyat Kantha not present, one PLTO official who asked not to be named explained to the drivers, “First, traffic police will warn you to not park outside the designated areas. Your vehicle details and names will be recorded and handed over to the PLTO.

“If police find you guilty, you will be fined. This can happen only twice. After that your commercial drivers’ license will be suspended for seven days.

“The next time you are caught, your license will be suspended for 15 days,” he added.

Repeat offenders who continue to ignore the parking regulations will be called in for “attitude adjustment”, the official warned.

Patong Traffic Police Chief Maj Ekkarat reiterated his officers’ predicament.

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“This is the conclusion of the PPTC to you all. We are only informing you of it. If you are not happy, we have no choice,” he said.

“Don’t blame us,” he repeated time and again.

Maj Ekkarat pointed out that three more taxi stands, and their locations, had yet to be approved by Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong.

“It has been requested to allow three more taxi stands,” he said.

According to documents available at the meeting, the three locations requested are for one near the

Deevana Patong Resort & Spa and another near The Lunar Patong, both located on Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Rd, and a third near the Patong Pearl Hotel on Sawatdirak Rd.

Although taxi and tuk-tuk drivers’ representatives at the meeting today, and those waiting outside the police station, were reluctant to speak with The Phuket News, Maj Ekkarat assured all feedback from the drivers would be passed on to the PPTC.

The meeting today followed Phuket Governor Norraphat and any other senior Phuket officials involved in the campaign last week declining to confirm or deny any imminent action pending against van, taxi and tuk-tuk drivers commandeering parking spaces in Patong. (See story here.)

However, that silence followed Lt Col Surasak Phuengyam, Deputy Commander of the 25th Infantry Regiment, announcing on July 21 that the Patong drivers had until Aug 3 to move out or face action from the military. (See story here.)

The Patong drivers have consistently pushed for more than twice the number parking spaces than ever announced by Phuket officials in this latest campaign (see stories here and here), which was brought on by Maj Gen Pornsak Poonsawat, Deputy Commander of the Army Region 4 base in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, which is responsible for all of Southern Thailand.

During an inspection of Patong Beach in February, Gen Pornsak noted that parking spaces along the entire beachfront had been commandeered by private taxis, tuk-tuks and car and motorbike rental operators. (See story here.)



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Jor12 | 03 August 2017 - 16:03:41

Pauly44...It's not a comeback at all, merely pointing out to you as to how your comments give credence to what I say and why some comments are wrong or plain garbage. Not sure if having a few degrees, constitutes a belief of high intelligence as you state, but it sure was a lot of hard work. Perhaps you too can embark on University study...or any study. It's never too late. As I said, rese...

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Pauly44 | 03 August 2017 - 13:27:10

Jor 12; Your usual comeback believing you're highly intelligent attempting to phsycoanalyze others comments, lucky for you and Eagle there's GOOGLE! I choose not to waste my time reading your posts anymore as they are always the same utter nonsense and quite frankly bore me to tears, you'll never get it & Thailand is the ideal country for you to reside in this respect.

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Jor12 | 03 August 2017 - 12:54:38 comment merely highlights what I said, "Those with a lower social economic status, cognitive ability (Blah Blah, I stopped reading your comment), or esteem...are more dependent on the other clown commentators of their identity, in order to strengthen their prejudice toward members of outsider groups." ("Timothy you're also wasting your time trying to educate...

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Pauly44 | 03 August 2017 - 10:26:09

Jor 12; Blah Blah, I stopped reading your comment after the first sentence as it's not worth the time. Timothy you're also wasting your time trying to educate these fools.

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Jor12 | 03 August 2017 - 01:56:13

Timothy...It seems that most commentators on here can be classed - to use the sociological term - ethnocentrists, in that their basic attitude is expressing the belief that one’s own ethnic group or one’s own culture is superior to other ethnic groups or cultures. However, research has shown that high education levels, (who can easily be identified on here as giving - as you say, "glowing...

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petermach | 02 August 2017 - 18:01:57

all these organisations should be banned from Phuket and replaced by taxi meters with the same rates than Bangkok as well as a songtiaw ( no parking allowed) with cheap price like Pattaya.

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Timothy | 02 August 2017 - 09:38:10

ematt, eagle, Maybe calling you two morons was a little harsh. I do, however tire of you continual unsubstantiated glowing support and respect for what you call Thai culture and customs. Often, you use these terms in an attempt to devalue the comment of another It makes no sense. People write about the incredible corruption that is so blatant and clear to others. You call it culture...That is why ...

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ematt | 01 August 2017 - 20:04:34

Timothy, you may well disagree with some of my comments and I wholeheartedly respect your right to do so. I have certainly disagreed with many comments posted here by other readers, and I assume you respect that right as well.

That being said, I have never referred to another reader as a "moron", or in any other defamatory way. You might recall that I have however frequently questione...

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Pavel | 01 August 2017 - 18:12:56

Let us not forget the physical assaults on tourists by the tuk tuk mafia just out of view of the safety cameras in Patong also

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Pavel | 01 August 2017 - 18:10:09

How about all drivers who break the rules more than twice have their tyres deflated and all drivers who break the rules more than five times have a tyre slashed? Let's see how they like it.

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