Checkpoints set up at five locations in Phuket from Sunday through Tuesday (July 3-5) saw 344 public transport drivers found operating public transport vehicles with expired road tax or worse, operating “unregistered” vehicles.
Each of these drivers was fined B20,000, netting the DLT a windfall of B6.88 million.
“The rest (229 drivers) were fined up to B10,000 each because they were found to be driving outside their designated routes without permission, having illegal modifications to their vehicles, such as adding air horns or spotlights, and using the incorrect vehicle to provide a regular-route service,” said DLT Director Sanit Promwong.
“All information of the public transport drivers who were stopped and fined were sent to the information centre at our office so if they are ever found of committing an offense under the Land Transport Act again, their license will be suspended or revoked,” he added.
The transport officials were stationed at the Tha Chatchai Checkpoint to check vehicles heading onto the island, and on the west coast road to check all taxis, buses and green-plated vehicles leaving Phuket International Airport.
Checkpoints were also set up in front of Phuket FantaSea in Kamala, to check all buses, taxis and tuk-tuks going to Patong; at the Thong Thong Checkpoint, to check all buses, tuk-tuks and taxis going to Patong; and in front of Phuket Shooting Range on Patak Rd, to check buses, taxis and tuk-tuks heading from Chalong into Karon.
Mr Sanith said that officials had no choice but to ramp up enforcement of public transport laws to solve many issues regarding poor service provided by public transport that was causing damage to tourism.
“We have to be very strict on this in order for us to stop public transport operators from further damaging our tourism image with their poor service or operation,” he said.
Public transport drivers will also be held accountable for their behaviour, Mr Sanit noted.
“For example, drivers caught acting indecently will be arrested and have their license revoked immediately. Such behavior severely damages our tourism,” he added.
“To improve our public transportation quality and service, residents and tourists are encouraged to report any unacceptable behaviour of public transport drivers or of the condition of public transport vehicles to our 24-hour complaint hotline:1584,” Mr Sanit said.