However, it appeared that despite the intervention of Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew, very little positive outcome emanated from the discussions.
Governor Narong chaired the 10am meeting and was joined by Rear Admiral Nattapong Yanothai Khachit, Deputy Director of Phuket Military Internal Security, Pol. Col. Jirasak Siemsak, Deputy Commander of the Phuket Provincial Police, and Adcha Buachan, head of the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO).
Also present at the meeting were representatives on behalf of the director of Phuket Airport and representatives from Central Phuket Shopping Center.
The meeting came after two incidents at Central Festival Phuket that occurred in the past week, one last Friday (Mar 24) and the other on Monday (Mar 27). Both involved locally-based taxi drivers from the Andaman Phuket Car Taxi Service Cooperative Limited approaching and berating fellow taxi drivers who they argued were not legally allowed to operate in Phuket.
Both incidents attracted significant interest and reponses after they were aired on social media channels, something authorities are concerned will tarnish the image of Phuket as a desirable tourist destination.
In both situations the disputed taxi providers had been booked by customers via apps that are not legal in Thailand. Only on Monday (Mar 27), did Phuket officials inform local residents that Bolt and InDriver were both still considered illegal in Thailand, as they have not yet been approved by the Department of Land Transport.
The same post, issued by the Phuket Info Center, operating under the Phuket office of the Ministry of Interior, gave a reminder of ride-sharing apps approved by the Department of Land Transport, which included Hello Phuket, Grab, Robinhood, bonku, CABB and the AirAsia Super App.
However, the Public Relations Office of Phuket reports that at today’s meeting Mr Adcha listed only Hello Phuket and Grab as the legal app providers, highlighting that the former provides a total of 228 cars and the latter 111. Stickers from the PLTO would be clearly displayed in taxi windows to confirm to customers that they are legally permitted to operate, which Mr Aducha said he hopes will minimise any future confusion and conflict.
Any apps currently deemed illegal can apply for certification from the Department of Land Transport, which can be filed at the Phuket Provincial Transport Office, he added.
Mr Adcha made no mention of what is needed to contain green plate taxi driver behaviour or of refusing to register new taxis in the province, despite green plate drivers from Bangkok and other provinces challenging the PLTO’s right to ban them from working on the island, seemingly prefering to just blame the ‘illegal taxis’ for all the recent problems.
Today’s meeting concluded by stating that ongoing discussions and cooperation between relevant agencies will continue in the hopes of a solution being found, adding that anyone who experiences any similar situations with taxi disputes can contact the relevant local authorities directly, call hotline 1584 or make an official complaint via the Traffy Fondue app.
Divebomber | 31 March 2023 - 20:28:33