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Phuket taxi drivers get their way, no reduction in fares

PHUKET: Officials from the Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO) have bowed down to the demands of local taxi drivers and agreed not to reduce taxi fares on the island. The Phuket News learned of the decision from the Director of the PLTO today (Aug 25).

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The Phuket News

Thursday 25 August 2016, 03:40PM

Director of the Phuket Land Transportation Office Sommai Sutkhao. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot
Director of the Phuket Land Transportation Office Sommai Sutkhao. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

PLTO director Sommai Sutkhao told The Phuket News, “I had a meeting with relevant officials and representatives from local transport associations to discuss reducing taxi fares last month. However, the idea was dismissed by them immediately.

“The reason they gave for not wanting to reduce the fares was because they use a queuing system in the areas in which they work. They said if the prices were reduced this system would not work,” he said.

Mr Sommmai explained that he understands that the cost of living in Phuket is too high, however, he said that if fares were reduced it would affect many people’s livelihoods.

“We can only ask the drivers to treat customers fairly and we have requested that if people travel less than 4 kilometres they should consider charging cheaper fares. The representatives said they would discuss this with their drivers and send a letter of confirmation back to my office with their decision,” he said.

“So far have not receive such letters, but for the time being we have asked them to treat customers fairly by not charge a high price.

“We continue to receive complaints from people about fares in Phuket being high, but most of the complaints we received via our call centre lack information about the taxi that serviced them, so officials can not proceed with further action.

“If you have complaint against public transport drivers, please get their licence plate number so we know who to call,” he added.

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Mr Sommmai also confirmed that taxi fares on the island will not increase if the Transport Ministry approves a 5 per cent increase rate this year.

“We will use the fares set out by the Provincial Office on December 25, 2012, ” he said.

Deputy Transport Minister Ormsin Chivapruck said the Transport Ministry is considering approving a 5% increase on taxi fares this year, on Aug 15.

In 2014, the ministry agreed to raise taxi fares by 13%. However, it only granted an 8% increase, holding back the rest until drivers could prove they had improved their services. (See story here.)

The PLTO considered lowering the island’s taxi fares following a video of a Thai speaking westerner complaining about the cost of a taxi on the island going viral.

The video clip was initially uploaded by Facebook user, Jack Brown on the afternoon of June 18 and by the next morning it had amassed more than 105,000 views and 11,000 Likes. (See story here.)



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LES | 26 August 2016 - 20:40:56

My advice and i am sure that of many other posters is "walk".Wherever you can, arrange a friend pick up, or use a cheaper motorcycle taxi.When the demand dies so will these extortionists.
However this problem is as old as father time and becomes quite tedious as nothing ever will change on this Island, too many interested parties and in high place too.
Who is behind the Tuk Tuks, who is the don ? it never gets answered and maybe best left alone unless you want to be shot.

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petermach | 26 August 2016 - 16:09:43

this is scandalous and shameful ,it shows the power of taxis in Phuket which can rip off tourist with their unjustified rates and that, with a "green light" from officials.Nothing justifies such rates even worse, gazoline price droped from 1.5 USD/liter in 2012 to 0.8 USD/ liter in 2016 and in the same time taxi rates have doubled . This decision is clearly showing that taxis are retaking their power lost after the coup and the.Furthermore we can see taxi booths reblooming in many places in the island .Personally I took the decision I never ever will use a taxi in Phuket and I advice friends family colleagues to do so and explain them how to manage it.

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Kurt | 26 August 2016 - 13:58:38

I agree 100% with Sir Burr.

So many foreigners living on Phuket are fed up with the bad tuk tuk and taxi service that they single them out.
Many foreigners on Phuket now have driving service-circles among themselves. ( with closed wallet).
Bring/pick up each other Phuket airport, bring/pick up shopping/cinema's. Etc.
Pleasant, safe driving, and no shame thai rip off's due to thai law no mans land on Phuket.

Oh, yes, before I forget, why do we have a PLTO on Phuket?
I would feel ashamed if connected with PLTO.
Seems to be a death wood club.
Not serving the public interest at all. Terminate it.

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CaptainJack69 | 26 August 2016 - 13:19:36

Two things are clear (and have been for a very long time). One, everyone hates Phuket taxi's. Local Thai's, foreign tourists, Thai Tourists, expats, EVERYONE hates them. Two, no one can do anything about them. It's interesting the PLTO now saying they wont adjust prices as the last we heard from them they were saying they had no control over taxi's at all. So which is it? They clearly can't do anything. Nor can the police, or the army apparently (they really did try to right after the coup). So what can be done? That's not so clear.

Meanwhile, when a social media post goes explosively viral, clearly illustrating the universal hatred of Phuket taxis, what do the powers that be do? They try to take criminal action against the poor guy who posted the story. Wow! And saying they don't know who to talk to because the individual driver is not identified is BS and they know it. If the person making the complaint knows where they started their journey (which seems likely) then the driver can be easily tracked down at the queue they started from.

I really hope something can be done to reduce the number of taxi's blocking Phukets' roads and ripping off its people, but I wont hold my breath.

The Phuket News

Discover Thainess | 26 August 2016 - 11:24:56

I doubt that the PLTO read the comments section here, but on the offchance:
Dear PLTO, on behalf of all tourists and residents on Phuket, both Thai and Foreign, who have no choice but to use the taxis on the island, I would like to confirm for you that you have taken a huge backward step for Phuket here. To allow Phuket to be held to ransom by this group of taxi drivers is a poor decision. Phuket needs a well thought out and integrated PUBLIC transport solution. Phuket does not need a lightrail or the current taxi situation. What we need is a proper network of buses that are affordable and connect all the destinations that your residents and visitors need. This will reduce congestion enourmously and will bring about a huge increase in road safety as the need to rely on dangerous motorbikes will be reduced.

Just look at the new purple line in BKK, usage is way down on levels predicted as it doesnt integrate with other lines.

So please; draw up a plan for a proper phuket wide bus and "saeng thaew" network, abolish 100% of the "green plate" taxis and tuk tuks and introduce a proper metered taxi service as found in Bangkok.

By doing this you can save billions of road construction, save hundreds of lives a year and bring phuket up to being a proper global tourist destination.

Thank you.

The Phuket News

Ed Sanders | 26 August 2016 - 11:21:05

Boy...big surprise here... !!! NOT !!!  This entire silly process just reaffirms who controls this crooked place.  Clearly, all of Thailand's ills are related to Thai officials that do nothing but look out for themselves and their crooked cronies.

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Joe12 | 26 August 2016 - 10:50:13

I'd love to have the Transport Association officials come and work for me. They demonstrate a commitment to service and to their workers and are erudite enough to present cogent arguments that are difficult to argue against. And if they can allow workers to achieve high incomes to be able to afford luxury homes and cars (if that is what reported here - albeit with no evidence of the items being achieved solely through taxi business) even more reason for me to employ them.

My only criticism is that they are not pushing for a fare rate that is double of what is being currently allowed. 

The Phuket News

Bigaresort | 26 August 2016 - 10:40:04

Sir (or what ever)
How can you look in the mirror every morning and see yourselfe?Dont you have any selfrespect? Horst

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Sir Burr | 26 August 2016 - 08:55:01

The article shows who really runs Phuket.
Total cowardice shown by the PLTO.

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Nasa123 | 26 August 2016 - 06:52:32

If Tux Tux drivers don`t earn money, I don`t  not understand it ?. I live in Land& House in Chalong and here we have earn money I do not understand it at least 6 Tux Tux owners with large houses whit Volvo and Mercedes parked inside. And they come every night about 04:00 and wake up everyone in the streets they driving with the noisy Tux Tux and full music on. The same in Rawai they have big houses and some rent out many houses too, so money this Tux Tux people have plenty of.

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