The drivers massed at Phuket Provincial Hall this morning, with scores of their vehicles parked across the road at Sanaam Chai (Victory Field), to drive their point home and have the voices heard in a meeting inside Provincial Hall.
Present at the meeting were officers from the Royal Thai Army, Phuket Vice Governor Siwaporn Chuasawad and the newly installed Patong Police Chief Col Tassanai Orarigdech, as well as 27 other representatives from the various stakeholders.
Their plea today was in response to plans unveiled on May 18 to reduce the number of taxi, van and tuk-tuk ranks in Patong from 84 to just 21.
A mass gathering of the Patong drivers at Provincial Hall on May 24 saw that plan deferred until further “negotiations” were held. (See story here.)
“Today, we stand united as more than hundred drivers to ask for kindness from the Phuket Provincial Office for two things: First, to slow on reducing the number of taxi and tuk-tuk ranks to 21; and second, to give allow us to have 28 more ranks, to give us a total of 49 ranks in the Patong area,” explained Anan Pluemjit, one drivers’ representatives.
“Having fewer places to park taxis and tuk-tuks will have a great effect on drivers in Patong,” he said. “There are no places for us to park. Land in Patong is too expensive and nobody allows to park on their land.
“We had a meeting and we all agree that 21 taxi and tuk-tuk ranks is not suitable.” Mr Anan added.
In concluding discussions today, Phuket Vice Governor Siwaporn noted, “At this meeting we can only agree delay the enforcement of the rules for one month, so there will be no arrests and no fines issued until August 3. Until then, everything will still the same.
However, V/Gov Siwaporn added, “To be granted the extra 28 ranks, that is up to the Public Transportation Management Committee to decide.”