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Phuket taxi, tuk-tuk drivers rally against Patong parking crackdown

Phuket taxi, tuk-tuk drivers rally against Patong parking crackdown

PHUKET: Hundreds of taxi and tuk-tuk drivers massed near Phuket Provincial Hall today (May 24) to “negotiate” with officials over parking spaces along the Patong beachfront and elsewhere in the island’s busiest tourism town, following an Army push to make more spaces available to the public.

By Premkamon Ketsara

Wednesday 24 May 2017, 08:15PM

The drivers, bolstered by scores of other drivers from Patong’s fleet of “green plate” and “yellow-and-black” commercial passenger vehicles – aka “private taxi” cars and vans – demanded a “fairer share” of the parking spaces in Patong.

The push follows Maj Gen Pornsak Poonsawat, Deputy Commander of the Army Region 4 base in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, which is responsible for all of Southern Thailand, inspected Patong Beach in February and noted that parking spaces along the entire beachfront had been commandeered by private taxis, tuk-tuks and car and motorbike rental operators.

“Rental vehicle operators and taxi drivers must park somewhere else. Lots of tourists visit Patong Beach, especially during the (tourism) high season. We need to take of of their needs,” Gen Pornsak said.

“The car park spaces are for the public, not for private business,” he added. (See story here.)

Since then, officials have tallied that there are currently 84 taxi and tuk-tuk ranks in Patong – and last Thursday (May 18) unveiled plans to slash that number to just 21.

Facing forced reduced presence on the streets, unhappy drivers massed at Provincial Hall on Wednesday to voice their grievance at a meeting joined by Phuket Vice Governor Siwaporn Chuasawad, Patong Police Chief Col Chaiwat Uikum, Patong Deputy Mayor Weerasak Khaminthong, officers from the Phuket Land Transportation Office – and Col Santi Sakuntanark, Commander of the 25th Infantry Regiment and the highest-ranking army officer stationed in Phuket.

“We want number to stay at 84, but if that is not possible, then we want the taxi rank areas combined create bigger ranks,” said Anan Pluemjit, one drivers’ representatives.

Mr Anan added taxi and tuk-tuk drivers were willing to reduce the number to vehicles occupying streetside parking spaces to leave about 50-60% available for the public to use.

Vehicles currently using parking spaces will instead be on standby elsewhere and called up to join the rank when spaces become available.

However, after the meeting on Wednesday, fellow driver representative Aroon Kreuajan said that if officials were to reduce the number of ranks in Patong to 21 – then it would have to be at locations agreed by the Patong drivers.

To this, Col Santi explained, “Many tourists have trouble finding parking spaces in Patong, because there is not lot of public transport. We are trying to find a solution for everyone within the confines of the law.

“Thai and foreign tourists who come to Patong beach will have a place to park their vehicles,” he assured.

“The request for more than 21 ranks in Patong – or bigger ranks – in my opinion is possible, but this must be approved by the Phuket Provincial Office, Col Santi added.

V/Gov Siwaporn said the issued would be handed over to another Phuket Vice Governor to head an investigative committee, which was to convene at a later date – yet to be specified – to further discuss the issue.

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Kurt | 29 May 2017 - 12:41:23

@ Captain Jack.  I understand your reaction on my comment.
Thank you for that.
Yes, as I wrote I know Nanai road very well, have been there in the past a lot in small thai eateries ( nice and good food)
About a light rail, I was not thinking about a massive light rail system, Captain Jack, but about the very light touristic light rail system in 'the air', like on Sentosa island of Singa...

Kurt | 29 May 2017 - 12:15:10

Good for Thailand that it is slowly active thinking about Singapore.
Thailand now to take on Singapore with a $ 5.7 Billion (!) U-Tapao Airport overhaul.  ( Bloomberg, 29 May).
I guess they learned/regretted that they didn't do the same with Phuket Airport.

Also the thai Ministry of Education is now regular visiting Singapore as the thai education system is not on the right track, to put ...

Pauly44 | 29 May 2017 - 07:09:27

CaptainJack; It has been well & truly proven Phuket taxi/Tuk Tuk mafia cannot and will never be controlled/managed, that horse has bolted, need to come up with an alternative solution for tourists to get around cheap & safe.

CaptainJack69 | 28 May 2017 - 13:23:25

@KURT: Dude, come on, a light rail down Nanai Road? I'm sorry but that has to be the craziest thing I've ever heard. Have you even seen Nanai Road?

Again, this story (and the big problem affecting us all) is the chronic oversupply of taxi's around Phuket and the damage it's causing by blocking public parking and increasing congestion.

You can talk about alternate transport so...

malczx7r | 27 May 2017 - 15:24:49

Kurt, I have a filipino school teacher friend who works in Phuket, she says Thais have no idea of forward planning for anything, she even described at as almost farcical the lack of ability to forward plan.  They think only of today!

Kurt | 26 May 2017 - 15:39:02

Pauly44:  I agree with you!
A real light rail track could be created at Patong, ( even as a tourist attraction) and I mean a local very light rail like on Sentosa island in Singapore. But modernist. Why not?

Make a 8- route track: Nanai road, Road Rat.2000 and Beach road.
Pillars for that very light touristic rail track can be build at road locations where now all these tuktuks, 'taxis...

Pauly44 | 26 May 2017 - 14:10:35

Phuket can't have its cake and eat it to, they MUST give back & come up with a long term solution to their transport problems which are deeply routed. No good TAT promoting the place if they don't improve infrastructure, a safe no nonsense public transport solution is well overdue and I'm not talking about the current underpass obsession, no one will drive your baht buses as they&#...

Kurt | 26 May 2017 - 12:01:59

Many, many years ago, I drove often to Patong for dinner in small thai restaurants at Nanai Road, side soi's at Beach road.
That were years you still could park your car.
Nowadays the taxi tuktuk mafia rule these roads, threaten you if you park at spots they don't want you to park.
Who likes to drive to Patong for a pre-dinner happening like that?

Do Patong small restaurant and and s...

opinioated farange | 26 May 2017 - 10:49:05

It's 3 years since the military have taken over so can I now get a baht bus from Kamala to Patong. No prizes for guessing the answer.

LES | 26 May 2017 - 02:59:19

Same old story, the tuk tuk mafia have contacts and influence when the money is involved.Pointless having a vehicle in Patong, or anywhere else on the island unless you leave it your drive because certainly cant park it the street.Many have parked out of ignorance in a so called tuk tuk/taxi space and what abuse they received.
Until the tuk tuks are abolished, the owners compensated and move to a...

CaptainJack69 | 25 May 2017 - 21:52:55

Guys, "light rail" doesn't mean it's so light that it flies. They need tracks. Where and how would you build elevated railway lines in Patong? Simply not possible. Also there are hills, big hills, between Patong and Phuket Town. How would you work that one out?

Anyway, this story is not about light rail, it's not even about a bus service (a far more sensible idea), it'...

Pauly44 | 25 May 2017 - 17:42:16

Rorii; I meant Phuket, Patong is beating heart...Probably never happen, too much vested interest in status quo which is terrible, Phuket makes a huge income from tourism, about time they gave something back to tourists & locals alike instead of lining their greasy pockets. I for one am sick of these transport bogan's & Phuket roads are like Russian roulette, imagine jumping on a smooth...

petermach | 25 May 2017 - 16:57:53

They right , they should have taxi station , taxi meters with a national fare based on Bangkok's one and no more tuk tuk or occasional taxi , also no more illegal taxi booths all over the island ...etc Why army is not fixing taxi mafia problems ?

Rorii | 25 May 2017 - 16:15:59

Pauly44, sorry mate, but did only mention Patong.
As for Phuket, itself, light rail has been mentioned, but never actually proceeded with. Like so many things needed, all we get is lips service.

Sue Yu2 | 25 May 2017 - 16:10:09

Just try parking your bike opposite the Post Office on the beach road & you'll see some complete ****** has moved it when you come out 2 mins later. Why? Because it took up some of his motorbike rental illegal selling space. I ended up having a shouting match with this moron but of course it didn't do any good. If I'd got in a fight we all know what would've happened, eh. Mafia...

Pauly44 | 25 May 2017 - 15:16:40

Disagree with you both, a small scale elevated light rail e.g darling harbour, Sydney, connecting Patong to Pkt Town and a main link to the airport would be ideal, ease congestion, do the mafia out of business, it's cool, better for environment, safe, economical & convenient, it's worked for so many cities around the world, what makes Phuket so impervious to positive change?

Foot | 25 May 2017 - 15:05:58

There's a workable solution that will solve the problem and it:
Would cost very little - a radio for each taxi, tuk-tuk, and bike taxi.
The current roads loaded with tuk-tuks and taxis would be clear.
No drivers would lose their jobs.
Sidewalks would be less cluttered.
Shops could be easily visited.
Much parking would free up for folks.
An easy, inexpensive solution that would benefit e...

Pauly44 | 25 May 2017 - 12:58:18

Eagle; With your inifnite wisdom explain why a lightrail system is crazy for Patong? Have you got a better idea?? Why not get rid of all the problems that are causing the chaos in the area i.e unregistered, lawless pedlers. Who cares if they've been used for decades, it's quite obviously not working is it.

Rorri | 25 May 2017 - 12:35:36

Patong certainly does not need light rail, it's far too small, many occasions I havw walked it, just for the exercise, tuk tuks, and motorbike taxis, for the lazy, ill or aged... ok and those who don't  like walking.

Eagle, with regards to "fair sharing", it3 another rare occasion I'm agreeing with you.

BenPendejo | 25 May 2017 - 12:00:29

Amazing how there is NOBODY on the side of the taxi/tuktuk thugs, and that it is unanimous that tourists and residents want these urchins run out of town.  I quit taking my family there years ago, with parking being the #1 reason...not to mention trying to walk down the narrow sidewalks that are packed with these bums and their trash in the gutters and their disgusting cigarette smoke in my kids f...

Pauly44 | 25 May 2017 - 07:08:56

You must be joking Discover Thainess...Since when have tourists interests ever been considered in this country, there is obviously a huge oversupply & big problem with transport in Patong for a "meeting" to be required. The military needs to clear the bums out of Phuket and start from scratch with professional services giving priority to those born & raised there and not from oth...

Rorri | 25 May 2017 - 06:27:21

Why are we in a constant state of deja vu, with the same result, failure, failure, failure, for someone to one day actually do it, and have it continually policed. I will not hold my breath.

CaptainJack69 | 25 May 2017 - 00:02:23

Lets be clear here, taxi's and taxi drivers are the single biggest problem Phuket faces or has ever faced (yes, I'm absolutely including the Tsunami in that). We are infamous the world over for our extortionate, aggressive, violent, protectionist, self-interested, illegally operating taxi mafia.


One idea, make them pay... say 40 percent of their average monthly reven...

malczx7r | 24 May 2017 - 23:51:58

demanded a “fairer share” of the parking spaces in Patong. Ahh, they don\'t like it when they can\'t have 100% of the roads to themselves and as soon as someone comes up with sharing they all cry!!  

Should go to Chalong beach and demand the public have a fair share of that instead of it being 100% Speedboats!

Sam hayman | 24 May 2017 - 21:51:57

Time to get rid of the taxi mafia and only allow registered taxi drivers who own a taxi license.


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