By September 1, all taxis using the airport must be legal, and all meter cabs around Phuket will be allowed to pick up and drop off there around the clock without restriction, ending years of control by taxi cartels.
No more taxi group concessions are on offer at the airport, the gathering at the Royal Thai Navy base at Cape Panwa ordained.
Orders to rationalise Phuket's taxi system were approved by the Army's top officer on Phuket, Major General Somchai Ponatong, after talks with Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtadav and officials from Airports of Thailand, which manages Phuket airport, and the Phuket Land Transport Department.
Among the edicts:
.. AoT has to manage all remaining green-plate taxis operating from the airport. [Pressure is becoming more intense for green-plate drivers, who charge extortionate set fares, to switch to meters.]
.. The AoT has to find space for 50 meter taxis and all of the island's meter taxis are to be permitted to access the airport around the clock.
.. Bidding for taxi concessions at the airport is over. From now on, the facility is accessible to all individual Phuket taxi drivers - provided they are legal.
.. Every taxi that intends to pick up passengers at the Phuket airport must register with the airport first.
.. The Army is finding a space for green-plate taxis near the airport where they can park while waiting to be called in for pickups, in order.
Giving Phuket International Airport a system similar to Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports in Bangkok is viewed as essential to Phuket's future.
At present on the holiday island, non-meter taxi drivers are able to band together and name their own figures for trips - as well as charging passengers for the empty return journey back to base.
Until Region 8 police and the Army mounted a purge of the taxi ''mafia'' in Kata-Karon in June, the island's taxi drivers held Phuket to ransom. Huge commissions still remain part of the problem.
Many Phuket entertainment venue and tour operators still pay drivers as much as 50 percent to bring business their way - an excessive and unwarranted fee that only promotes abuses and greed among drivers.
Experts in the travel industry say that the commissions place Phuket at a disadvantage compared to rival destinations where commissions, if they exist, are in the 10-15 percent range.
More combined police and Army raids on taxi drivers and the officials who support them are expected at any time. About 70 drivers arrested in Phuket's Kata-Karon district in the first series of raids appeared briefly at Phuket Provincial Court yesterday.
Their trials on offences relating to extortion and intimidation of tourists and resort managers are expected to commence before the end of the year.