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Phuket taxi, van, tuk-tuk, bus drivers complain of unfair competition

Phuket taxi, van, tuk-tuk, bus drivers complain of unfair competition

PHUKET: An association representing drivers from 30 taxi, van, tuk-tuk and bus operators in Phuket have filed a formal complaint calling for action against operators from outside the province operating on the island ‒ and undercuttting their prices ‒ greatly affecting their income.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 25 January 2023, 11:18AM

The complaint was filed at the Phuket Provincial Ombudsman’s Office at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday (Jan 24). Present to receive the complaint in person was Phuket Vice Governor Anupap Rodkwan Yodrambam, along with Adcha Buachan, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office (PLTO).

Present to submit the complaint were Maitree Kwanyuen, President of the Vehicle Operators Association 30 Phuket Province (สมาคมผู้ประกอบการรถ 30 จังหวัดภูเก็ด), and Chanawee Ekteawsakul, President of the Bus Operators Association 30 Phuket Province.

Mr Maitree pointed out that the Vehicle Operators Association 30 Phuket Province was an officially registered association (Reg No 2/2563). The association represents drivers of more than 300 buses, vans and tuk-tuks, he said.

The association was formed “to develop, promote and assist and the exchange of knowledge among non-regular taxi operators in Phuket to meet safety standards for tourists who come to use them”, Mr Maitree noted.

A report by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket) defined the term “non-regular taxis” as“public transport vehicles” that are “not registered with yellow licence plates.” The oblique definition avoided government officials from recognising that the association represents taxi drivers using vehicles with green licence plates.

Taxis in Thailand must be registered and issued yellow licence plates with black lettering. However, more commonly used as taxis in Phuket are vehicles issued with green licence plates as the vehicles’ registered use is for business, tourist transport and rental services (including airport and hotel taxis).

“After the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, Phuket’s tourism industry came to a halt. Since then there have been good signs that the industry is recovering, although not as much as before,” Mr Maitree said.

“Business operators have suffered a lot. Many had to go out of business and many had to go bankrupt due to inability to pay debts to financial institutions,” he added.

“And now that the situation is beginning to improve, ‘capitalists’ [sic] from outside the area are gradually bringing their own vehicles [into Phuket] to serve tourists,” he said.

“The situation has aggravated local business operators who are about to work, and feed themselves, again,” he said.

The key grievance is that operators from outside Phuket are providing transport for tourists at prices cheaper than those charged by operators based on Phuket.

“The association discussed this and agreed that we are to ask for kindness and mercy from the relevant government agencies in the province, to help find a way to help Phuket business operators or protect their rights as much as they can, as these are people who live in Phuket, so Phuket people can earn an income and feed their families,” Mr Maitree said.

Phuket Vice Governor Arnupap said that discussions will be held with the relevant agencies to find solutions to the problem so that “all parties can live together and to reduce problems that will occur in the future”.

Of note, the report by PR Phuket made no mention of any legal requirements preventing operators from outside Phuket from serving passengers, tourists or otherwise, in Phuket.

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Fascinated | 26 January 2023 - 11:21:09

No sympathy for them whatsoever- a blight on Phuket. Rude, aggressive, violent and rip-offs. have the temerity to park in 'their' parking spaces on the public highway and stand by for incoming. Why the authorities give in to them or do nothing baffles me- the tail definitely wags the dog.

JohnC | 26 January 2023 - 09:03:52

Are we supposed to feel sorry for these scumbags who for many years have been spoiling the island's reputation by their poor service, greed, aggressive driving and violence towards other who  "compete fairly" against them? What a bunch of little girl's blouses! You dug your own graves now bury yourselves in them for the good of all Phuket residents.

JSombra | 25 January 2023 - 21:06:07

Never actually met a taxi or tuk driver from Phuket, they are all "outsiders" and number one complaint tourists have about the island

Prab | 25 January 2023 - 21:01:39

natural evolution, the monkey will stay monkeys and the evoluted one will adapt and  keep evolving... those scambags have he days 

christysweet | 25 January 2023 - 18:25:58

"Outside capitalists.." aka The Free Market. These guys want their price gouging cartel protected. I call that a racket.  

Capricornball | 25 January 2023 - 14:20:16

Screw these guy...every last one of them. There is nothing illegal, and if these losers want to compete in an open market, they can reduce their prices to be more competitive. I think everyone is tired of hearing these thugs crying about others cutting in on their business. The cartels already have many undeserved rules that prevent others from operating in "their turf". Open it up!

Kurt | 25 January 2023 - 13:22:44

A lot of croc tear level among Phuket transport cartel/mafia members. Yellow- and green plates are both legal registered, so? And, if operators from outside Phuket can provide services cheaper than on Phuket based operators, the last should get their act together and lower their scamming tariffs, and become competitive. Simple.

Old guy | 25 January 2023 - 12:36:14

So, these guys enter a competitive business that thrives on stealing from its customers and are now appealing to a corrupt government to help with the stealing.  Poor babies. 

maverick | 25 January 2023 - 12:09:23

My heart bleeds for them what happened to the electric buses in Patong ? 


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