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PLTO continues campaign against ‘out of province’ taxis

PLTO continues campaign against ‘out of province’ taxis

PHUKET: The campaign by the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) against legally registered ‘green plate’ taxis from outside Phuket operating on the island is continuing, despite the office holding talks with the drivers last week.

By Nattha Thepbamrung

Monday 20 February 2023, 11:51AM

Officers from the PLTO, acting under instructions by PLTO Chief Adcha Buachan, staged yet another check at Phuket airport from 3pm to 6pm on Friday (Feb 17).

Present to provide support were officers from the Sakhu Police, located near the airport, and security personnel from the ISOC Region 4 branch. ISOC, the Internal Security Operations Command, is the administrative branch of the Thai military.

The officers stopped seven vehicles, with legal action to be taken against six of the drivers, the PLTO reported. One of the vehicles was a private car being used illegally as a taxi, the PLTO pointed out.

The six drivers will be fined and the PLTO will “consider” suspending the drivers’ driving licences, the PLTO reported, consistent with previous reports of suspending driver’s licences for up to six months.

The arrests on Friday followed previous checks and arrests throughout the week.

The PLTO last Tuesday at the Si Kor Intersection in Kathu stopped and checked vehicles suspected of being used illegally as taxis from 9am to midday.

The PLTO reported three vehicles found being used illegally as taxis. The PLTO gave special mention to a van issued blue-on-white’ licence plates, indicating that the van was a private vehicle with more than seven seats.


The arrests last Tuesday came only days after PLTO chief Adcha Buachan held talks with ‘green plate’ taxi drivers over the PLTO’s current practice of targetting taxis legally registered in other provinces operating in Phuket.

The meeting was joined by Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Jirasak Siemsak.

Mr Adcha later revealed that the talks, held at PLTO offices, focused on how green plate cars registered outside Phuket may be able to operate here legally, adding that the aim was to find a satisfactory outcome for all involved.

He confirmed that the number of vehicles registered outside of Phuket but operating here was not especially high but that the PLTO would evaluate ways to allow them to operate here without contravening existing laws.

After the meeting Mr Adcha stated that any additional specific documents and evidence supporting the group’s claims would need to be submitted to the PLTO to assist the overall evaluation process within one month from the date of the meeting (Feb 9). The sooner these materials could be provided the better, he added.

CBRE Phuket

However, despite Mr Adcha’s public comments after the meeting, the PLTO’s campaign to arrest and suspend driving licences of taxi drivers whose vehicles are legally registered elsewhere continued in the days following.

The green plate drivers have openly challenged the PLTO’s legal right to seize legally registered taxis and suspend taxi driver’s licences.

Weeks later, Mr Adcha and the PLTO still have yet to publicly explain the source of their legal empowerment to take such action.


The only response by the PLTO has been the PLTO posting on its official Facebook page mid-last week two ministerial regulations regarding taxis operating outside the province in which the vehicle was registered.

One of the ministerial regulations was a revision issued in 1992 of a regulation originally issued in 1979. The regulation banned ”all taxis, including three-wheeled vehicles” from operating outside the province they were registered in ‒ with the exception of all taxis and three-wheelers in Khon Kaen, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Songkhla, Nakhon Ratchasima, which were allowed to ”be used” in other provinces, including Bangkok

However, the same regulation also made it plain that ”all taxis, including three-wheeled vehicles” registered in Bangkok were allowed to “travel” to other provinces.

The regulation did not make it clear whether such taxis were allowed to pick up passengers in provinces outside Bangkok.

The other regulation, issued by Department of Land Transport Director-General Chirut Wisanchit on Dec 2, 2021, mandated that EV taxis must be white, and that non-EV taxis must be yellow in colour ‒ with an exemption for non-EV taxis registered before that date. 

The posts by the PLTO showed only the ministerial regulations, and gave no express explanation of what the PLTO’s understanding of the regulations were. (See PLTO posts of the ministerial regulations here and here.)

The PLTO campaign targetting ’out of province’ taxi drivers was launched earlier this month within hours of taxi drivers from Phuket’s powerful taxi cooperatives and associations staging a protest at Provincial Hall on Feb 2.

The drivers complained that non-Phuket drivers were charging less than local Phuket drivers, and hence costing the local cartel drivers passengers and income.

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Kurt | 22 February 2023 - 07:58:45

( 20 Feb 2023) Director-General of Thailand International Cooperation is very clear: Thailand is not a member of OECD nor DAC. No Thai ratification of the convention of the OECD. OECD meddling with Thailand is just economical assessment.

Pooliekev | 21 February 2023 - 17:21:38

@Kurt. According to OECD 65% of Thai people trust their Government, so again, you're spouting rubbish. 

Kurt | 21 February 2023 - 10:02:08

There is no way of return for PLTO. A BKK higher Authority should step in and take over PLTO, a clean sweep of Phuket PLTO is more than needed. It is the most corrupt Government organisation on Phuket, complete eating out of the hands of Phuket cartels. Clean up this stable. Make Thai people believe again they can trust the Thai Government. 

JohnC | 21 February 2023 - 09:14:39

Perhaps if Phuket drivers charged more reasonable prices they wouldn't be undercut by non-Phuket drivers. If the PLTO didn't extort such exorbitant 'fees' from it's Phuket members maybe the drivers could lower their prices to be more competitive. Like the growing list of other expats, I won't be using 'approved' taxis here ever.

CaptainJack69 | 21 February 2023 - 05:47:36

I'd rather walk than take a taxi on Phuket.

Fascinated | 20 February 2023 - 12:00:03

Targeting out of province taxis that are not actually breaking the law due to pressure from the local mafias. The tail continues to wag the dog, with a blind eye turned to the thugs and their behavior on Phuket. We all know 'a satisfactory outcome' means someone becoming 'unusually wealthy!


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