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Phuket's tuk-tuks and jet-skis: both subjects of crisis talks

Phuket Tuk-Tuk Crisis Talks Review Fares, Safety

Thursday, October 1, 2009
A CRISIS meeting of tuk-tuk drivers, owners and local authorities was chaired by Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-nob yesterday.

''You have to find a way to make sure tourists are safe and happy with you,'' the governor told the large assembly at Provincial Hall in Phuket City.

The bad image that the tuk-tuk drivers had among tourists reflected on the whole tourist industry on the island, Governor Wichai said.

It was the second crisis meeting about tuk-tuks, and a third meeting will be convened once the drivers and owners have agreed on what should be done about the key issues: fares, security and safety.

Next week should see a similar series of meetings about Patong jet-skis scams continue.

Both sets of gatherings appear to indicate reforms are being genuinely sought among the two groups that trigger most tourist complaints.

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, tuk-tuk prices, the rudeness of drivers and jet-ski scams are frequently given as reasons why visitors do not come back to Phuket.

Yesterday's meeting was attended by tuk-tuk owner and drivers, local police from around the island, Tourist Police, local administration representatives from Patong, Kamala, Surin, Phuket City and Kata-Karon, and representatives from theTourist Association and the TAT.

The next meeting will be scheduled by the new head of the island's Transport Department, Kanok Siripanitchakorn.

Tuk-tuks are run as separate organisations around the island. The exceptionally high fares when compared with tuk-tuk fares in Bangkok, and other tourist destinations that have proper low-cost public transport, have triggered complaints from tourists.

With efforts being made to improve service and deal with thieves and cheats at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport, diplomats from several countries have also asked for tourist complaints about Phuket to be addressed.

After giving a revealing interview to Phuketwan in July, Porntep Chamkawn, the leader of the Karon Tuk-tuk Association, undertook to consider readers' responses to the article.

These were translated and forwarded to Khun Porntep. Since then, efforts appear to have been made in Karon to improve standards of service. There has even been talk of a reduction in fares.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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One word "meters" !!

They said it would never happen in Bangkok, claimed it would never work.. Now it does.

If meters were enforced, everyone would pay the same rate, and the rate would be the fair market price.

Posted by LivinLOS on October 1, 2009 08:38

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Of course meters is the way forward, but who is going to decide the rates? If it is the tuk tuk associations themselves then we have no chance.

Something tells me they will not accept the same meter rates as Bangkok taxi drivers, but if not they should be asked why not?

Posted by Philip on October 1, 2009 16:51

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@Philip:
It might be reasonable to use the same rates like the Meter Taxis in Phuket City. On second thought the fares should be lower, since you are sitting must less comfortable, get blared at by the music, no airconditioning, crazy driving style ...

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on October 2, 2009 12:58

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The sad fact is that most people do not want to sit in the back of a small cramped tuk tuk looking at each other on the trip around the island. What they want is a clean air con car with a meter. Expensive, uncomfortable, noisy, not a good experience.

Posted by Peter J Notley on October 7, 2009 13:48

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I agree that metered taxis would solve the problem of the tuk-tuks and overpriced taxis which currently operate under the name of a "coop". Monopolies are allowed in return for kickbacks, etc while the public suffers.

The taxi prices should be commensurate with those in Bangkok instead of arbitrarily setting prices for various destinations which all drivers must adhere to. This is called "price fixing" and is illegal in most civilized countries.

Most of the prime parking spaces at many of the best beaches have been monopolised, including Nai Harn.

By the way, I've complained to TAT (Tourist Authority of Thailand) several times about price fixing and the dual price structure (Thai vs falang, etc) at certain establishments. The TAT said that such activity was not illegal in Thailand and they could not help.

Posted by Buster on October 8, 2009 02:35

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If drivers were in a position to be represented through a union then there would be an option for negotiation. Setting meter rates between owners and government leaves the drivers vulnerable.

Posted by Eddie D on October 25, 2009 00:10

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Yes Eddie D and hell will be turned into sweet honey. NOT bloody likely.

Posted by Mouse on October 25, 2009 17:25


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