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Phuket tackles overpriced taxi fares for tourists

Phuket tackles overpriced taxi fares for tourists

PHUKET: Local authorities in Phuket are ramping up efforts to tackle the island’s notoriously overpriced taxi fares, after a passenger complained of being ripped off.

tourismtransporteconomics
By Bangkok Post

Saturday 12 December 2020, 01:39PM


Some 300 taxi drivers joined a campaign launched by the Phuket Provincial Police  in August to offer 20% discounts on fares across the island. Photo: The Phuket News / file

Some 300 taxi drivers joined a campaign launched by the Phuket Provincial Police in August to offer 20% discounts on fares across the island. Photo: The Phuket News / file

The efforts of the touristy town of Phuket to get travellers back after the effects of the pandemic faced a minor hiccup this week after a local female traveller posted a complaint on social media, saying she was ripped off by a taxi driver who charged her B200 per kilometre, reports the Bangkok Post.

“Is it the normal rate. I thought I was in a taxi in a foreign country,” she wrote in a social media post on Dec 7. The post has gone viral and prompted Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew and related officials to respond, the Bangkok Post noted.

The passenger was reported on social media as having travelled with two others who altogether carried three items of luggage.

The name of the female passenger has been withheld and there is no information about the accused taxi driver on the social media post.

This is not the first time that cases of being ripped off while travelling on public transport have made the news in Phuket. In July of last year, two Australian tourists filed complaints at Karon police station that a passenger van driver charged them B3,000 to take them from Phuket airport to a hotel about 50km away.

Governor Narong told media yesterday (Dec 11) that he had ordered local authorities to contact the disgruntled passenger to probe her claim and provincial transport to check and make sure local taxis follow the official rate, which the Transport Ministry has applied in Phuket since August 2014.

Internal - Phuket News TV

The official rate sets the taxi fare at B50 for the first two kilometres, B12 for the second to the 15th kilometre and B10 for the 15th kilometre and beyond.

The fare also increases by B1 per minute when taxis move at speeds not exceeding 6km per hour. Another B50 is charged for booking taxis via a call centre and 100 baht for passengers picking up taxis at a designated area at the airport.

Banyat Kantha, Chief of the Phuket Land Transport Office, said his officers were checking the origin of the allegation. He advised travellers to use the mobile app named “Hello Phuket” to look for taxis and public transport.

Phuket Provincial Police launched the “Hello Phuket” mobile application in August, with 300 taxis joining. It was created to standardise the fares and provide safe public transport services in Phuket.

Mr Banyat said that public transport fees in Phuket should be cheaper during the COVID-19 pandemic because local operators agreed to give a 20% discount to travellers.

Meanwhile, Governor Narong yesterday asked airlines to increase flights to Phuket, as there are currently only 60-70 flights per day, down from 300 flights COVID, the Bangkok Post also reported. 

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Dukkkman | 19 January 2021 - 10:16:49

Is this story on a loop. Sounds like ground hog day again.

LALALA | 13 December 2020 - 20:11:14

Phuket tackles nothing, only some usual face saving blabla from the authorities. Business as usual, incompetence and greed at highest level. Typical Thai attitude.

CaptainJack69 | 13 December 2020 - 12:21:06

In Bangkok I hail a metered taxi, ride 30 mins to the other side of town, and it's less than 60B. On Phuket that would be 600! That's a 10 fold increase. And here there's no alternative other than my own car. This was already a big problem for international tourism but for domestic it's terrible. Thai people know Phuket is over-priced and wont come here.

Kurt | 13 December 2020 - 10:31:09

Nothing will change. Phuket Officialdom only react because a normal/usual Phuket transport mafia scam went viral world wide. Officialdom just try to safe their 'doing nothing face' and try to do some bla bla empty damage control to/for the eye of the world.

Sam Thompson | 13 December 2020 - 09:52:34

The first three lines of this article are just hilarious. These problems are 20 even thirty years old and every so often the authorities pretend to care, yet nothing ever changes. You say 'minor hiccup' whilst many would say 'major issue' and the negative publicity can have far reaching effects. Also, a 20% discount on fares that are "between 3-5 times higher' than Bangkok...

JohnC | 13 December 2020 - 09:48:50

What good are official rates per kilometre when most taxis on the island do not have meters and operate on supposed set fares? Which are also a complete rip off by the way.

Timothy | 13 December 2020 - 08:55:04

JSombra, I agree 100%. Why should the taxi in Phuket cost 4 times as much as Bangkok? Why should most be allowed to operate without a meter and charge whatever they want? All taxi in Phuket should have a meter, and that meter set to the same rate as Bangkok. 

JSombra | 12 December 2020 - 17:35:21

Now would be the perfect time to break the taci mafia once and for all and bring the prices in line with Bangkok. 

Capricornball | 12 December 2020 - 15:28:06

This has been a week of funny crack-downs...corruption, motorbike crashes, taxi scams...what next, litter laws?  Nobody is listening, and nobody takes anything from Phuket officials or police seriously. There is no plan, there is no interest in making substantive change...just more lip service, which further diminishes their reputations when people see same same down the road.

 

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