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Bangkok taxis are being tempted by Phuket's big money

Bangkok Taxi Drivers Eyeing Better Money on Phuket But Fear Violence

Saturday, August 2, 2014
PHUKET: A group of up to 200 Bangkok drivers were interested in coming to Phuket to drive meter taxis, a meeting heard yesterday.

''The rates on Phuket are much higher than in the capital so experienced taxi drivers who have to make do with low Bangkok rates are looking at coming to Phuket,'' said transport specialist Jaturong Keawkasi said.

He told reporters at the Phuket governor's monthly meeting with the media that the only reason why the Bangkok drivers had not moved to Phuket was out of concern about their safety.

The tropical holiday island's taxi and tuk-tuk ''mafia'' has come under pressure to change in the past few weeks, with more than 100 drivers arrested and charged with intimidation and extortion and officials at Phuket's Karon council being accused of assisting them.

At yesterday's meeting, Royal Thai Navy Captain Petcharat Tienjan said that all 10 police station superintendents on the island had been ordered to take adequate means to protect meter cab drivers, who are now legally entitled to pick up and drop off passengers anywhere.

The move is seen as a critical breakthrough in breaking the hold of the taki ''mafia'' and giving Phuket a more efficient service that should also become lower in cost over time.

From August 9-12, the Phuket Land Transport Department will be holding a taxi driver fair at its premises in Saphan Hin.

''For a maximum of 6000 baht to 7000 baht, a would-be driver will be provided with everything necessary to become a driver,'' Khun Jaturong said. ''He can be on the road the following day, picking up passengers.''

There's even provision for people to take a taxi driver's licence test quickly, he said.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Does Phuket really need 200 Bangkok taxi drivers who have no idea of locations, roads, attractions, hotels, towns, villages etc.
The motive is sheer greed.

Posted by Pete on August 2, 2014 10:50


Compared to BKK Phuket is super easy to get to know. Plus, all drivers currently on Phuket had to start somewhere as new inexperienced drivers. Greed? Well yes, is that different from you or me moving on to a different job or place when being offered better conditions and pay?
Do you think taxidrivers are any different?

Posted by christian on August 2, 2014 12:55


Perhaps the solution would be to reduce the prices in line with Bangkok, thus the problem would be immediately solved.

Posted by reader on August 2, 2014 13:40


The majority of taxi drivers in BKK come from other provinces, they rent the Taxi on a daily basis for around 600 to 1000 THB, on top of that they pay for the fuel, mainly gas they work hard for their daily don't forget to tip them a bit too.

Posted by Sailor on August 2, 2014 14:52


Google 'the knowledge' and you'll find out what taxi drivers need to know. Where does the article say they were 'offered better conditions and pay'? They had obviously read somewhere that a few taxi drivers had millions in the bank. I'll stick with pure greed.

Posted by Pete on August 2, 2014 15:22


@ Sailor the news is the majority of drivers in Phuket are from other province's the industry being oversaturated as they see it as some sort of Disneyland glittering with gold schoolboys dream of being tuk tuk drivers on Phuket the reality is the over saturation has fostered dishonesty corruption detours gross over charging monopolized parking, stand over tactics tacky huts with sanitary issues dubious commissions, unroadworthy non maintained commercial vehs & the poorest service provision imaginable don't be too over eager to present the poor down trodden hard working taxi driver image.

Posted by slickmelb on August 2, 2014 15:43


Pete, you have it backwards. The deterrent to competition has been sheer greed. Existing "groups" use intimidation and violence to protect their monopolies. Overall Phuket doesn't need any more taxi's which operate as they always have, claiming ownership of their turf. But we do need more metered taxi's operating at a much lower rate because they are 1) unable to scam tourists who have no idea how far a destination may be and 2) can now pick up customers where ever they just dropped off customers thus eliminating the need for each passenger to pay for the return trip even if they only ride one-way.

Posted by NomadJoe on August 2, 2014 16:09


@ Pete
You haven't got a clue about the taxi situation in Thailand. The fares in BKK are less then 1/3 of those in Phuket. It is pretty normal to look for an chance to earn more money. Your reference to a test in England has nothing to do with Thailand. It is outdated anyhow, ever heard apps like TomTom and many others which can tell you where to go?

Posted by FS on August 2, 2014 17:06



Anybody that have even the slightest experience of driving in bkk and in Phuket will immediately understand that conditions are much much better in Phuket. Even though we might whine about congestion in Phuket it's NOTHING compared to driving in flood prone and choked BKK on a daily basis. The average taxi driver in BKK also needs to use probably an hour at the very least just to get himself home after his shift. So yes, conditions in Phuket are much much better. So is the pay. It's not greed, just common sense.

Posted by christian on August 2, 2014 18:02


I think getting 200 metered taxis on the road tomorrow would be awesome! Get some new blood in Phuket! Rarely have I had a bad driver in Bangkok, those are the ones that want to run off-meter, I just get another taxi. Bring them down and see how quickly every other taxi converts over!

The law of supply and demand will thin the ranks. Bangkok drivers know more rides at a lower fare makes you more money than one or two rides at a stupid high fare.

Posted by James Bond on August 2, 2014 21:32


Just to scare the taxi people here and enlighten tourists. Cut the nonsense and use the mobile APP GrabTaxi. Works like a treat and works everytime. Works in Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Phillipines, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Posted by Graham on August 3, 2014 10:22


Phuket is the perfect place for those natsy "run off the meter" taxis. hope they dont come.

Posted by poppops on August 3, 2014 15:45

Editor Comment:

natsy? I like it.

Thursday December 9, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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