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Random drug tests for Phuket airport taxi drivers

Random drug tests for Phuket airport taxi drivers

PHUKET: Officials at Phuket International Airport have launched a campaign to conduct random drug testing on taxi drivers at the key tourism facility in the hope of having the airport declared a “White Airport” and boost confidence among tourists that they are getting a “clean” driver.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 19 July 2022, 10:00AM

Drivers gathered at the parking lot for international buses at the airport yesterday (July 18) for their tests.

Monchai Tanode, General Manager of Phuket International Airport, presided over the opening ceremony of the campaign, which he explained was a collaboration between Airports of Thailand (AoT) management at Phuket Airport with Tourist Police, Sakhu Police and the Phuket Provincial Transport Office.

“The campaign is to ensure the safety of tourists using taxis and buses at Phuket Airport,” he said.

Under the campaign, AoT Phuket staff will conduct random urine tests on drivers at the airport. Drivers who test negative will receive a star sticker marked “White Airport”.

The sticker will also specify the license plate number of the vehicle and the driver’s name to deter divers who had not tested negative from trying to cheat the system, Mr Monchai said.

However, it was not clarified exactly which drugs the drivers are tested for, or what happens to any drivers who test positive for drug use.

“In addition to creating safety and confidence in using a taxi service, the campaign is also to prevent and deter people from exploiting tourists or visitors at Phuket Airport,” Mr Monchai said.

Mr Monchai said passenger throughput at the airport was only about 30% of pre-pandemic levels, but noted that was an improvement.

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“Since the government canceled the Thailand Pass system, the number of tourists has increased by about 40-45%. The total is about 20,000 people per day, comprising about 12,000 domestic passengers and 8,000 international passengers per day,” he said.

The largest group of inbound visitors was “probably” those arriving from the Middle East, Mr Monchai said.

According to Phuket Immigration at the airport, 4,209 international arrivals landed in Phuket on Sunday (July 17). From May 1 to July 17, the most popular nationalities among international visitors were from India (72,455), Australia (26,348), Singapore (25,974), the UK (16,143) and Malaysia (12,092).

“There are now approximately 90-100 domestic flights per day, both inbound and outbound. As for international flights, there are about 60 daily flights a day,” Mr Monchai said.

“Before the COVID crisis, there were about 350-400 flights per day,” he said.

However, Mr Monchai noted, “There are still airlines from India requesting to add more flights to Phuket.”

“It is expected that from now on the tourism situation will improve accordingly, especially during the high season to come [at the end of the year],” Mr Monchai said.

“It is predicted that there will be 70-80% of tourists coming in compared to the number of tourists who had arrived in Phuket before the COVID-19 pandemic,” he concluded.

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JohnC | 20 July 2022 - 08:29:08

If officials at the airport thought this was necessary then there must have been a drug problem among the taxi drivers to start with. No secret there, but rather than just a one off testing I hope this is done regularly on a weekly or monthly basis.

Kurt | 20 July 2022 - 08:06:25

Now we are waiting to hear how many Van-Bus- Taxidrivers tested positive during airport drugs test! Let me guess: ZERO!  Thanks for the Thai Operashow with more 'officials' than drivers.  Who are they thinking they are fooling?  How were the test done, bring urine from home, and get immidiately the white car sticker?

Capricornball | 19 July 2022 - 17:14:05

I have "0" confidence in the driver testing scheme, as locals find a way around everything possible, whether it is carrying clean piss or pay-offs. And nothing that can be done with a worthless corrupt police force. In the real world, drivers speeding or reckless should be pulled over and tested on the spot, with a mandatory loss of license for public transport drivers. No changes ahead.

Ash Ward | 19 July 2022 - 12:49:02

4209 international arrivals per day on aprox 60 flights = 70 persons per flight won't cover the fuel bill per flight.
! Mr Monchi's calculator must be broken or he is in dreamland like the TAT.

christysweet | 19 July 2022 - 12:24:12

Better to install devices that will curb speeding and  tailgating. Until those practices are stopped, stopped, these drivers remain a danger to everyone on the roads 

maverick | 19 July 2022 - 11:50:42

More numbers being plucked out of thin in 

Kurt | 19 July 2022 - 11:42:19

All Van - and taxi drivers warned on forehand with 'time instructions' to be sure they test negative on ( what?) drugs? Those who used drugs can go 'later' for tests?  Afterall Phuket tourist drivers can not be disturbed to much, right? Only with velvet gloves in a show to the tourist world.

Kurt | 19 July 2022 - 11:04:23

As Officialdom normally widely eplain matters, but now not say on which drugs is tested, well...   And "prevent and deter people ( the drivers?) from exploiting the tourists"?  This whole thai opera show makes one smiling.


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