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How many tuk-tuks does one island need in a tourism downturn

Bid to Put 373 More Tuk-Tuks on Phuket Roads

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
AN APPLICATION ia being made to have an additional 373 tuk-tuks registered to add to the 1145 already in action on Phuket, a meeting heard today.

The increase in tuk-tuks is being sought despite complaints by tourists that the fares charged by tuk-tuks are extortionate and a cheaper form of public transport is needed on the island.

Nantanat Sealim, of Patong's Samakee Tuk-Tuk Club, told today's gathering at Provincial Hall in Phuket City that more than half of tuk-tuks in the west coast resort town were rented out.

Rent drivers paid a 15,000 baht guarantee, then between 350 baht to 400 baht a day to drive the vehicles. Fuel was a cost they also had to bear, he said.

The other registered tuk-tuks were owned by drivers who did not have to meet such high running costs.

But there were four times that number of ''black'' or illegal tuk-tuks operating on the island, he said.

The meeting also heard that many driver-owners drove the vehicles themselves, and rented them out to two other drivers each working an eight-hour shift.

Organised by the Transport Department, the meeting was to hear the needs of Phuket's private transport system.

There was no sugestion that a radical approach was needed and that tuk-tuk numbers actually should be reduced.

In terms of numbers, the meeting was told that there are 3053 registered motorcycle taxis and motorcycles for hire on the island, along with 2055 mini-vans, 69 metered taxis, 597 limousines, 644 tuk-tuks under the ''Tuk-Tuk 30'' group banner and 501 under the ''Tuk-Tuk'' banner.

Of the requests for 373 additional registrations of tuk-tuks, Khun Nantanat said that 216 of the requests came from Patong people or from people who had been living in patong for 10 years or more.

The other 157 requests came from Phuket City and other areas where tuk-tuks operate.

Khun Nantanat told the meeting that Patong's tuk-tuks were not managed as effeciently as those in Kata-Karon.

Some of the owners in Patong owned many tuk-tuks and rented them all out, around the clock.

Phuket City tuk-tuk president Daroon Suksai asked why Patong needed so many more tuk-tuks when there were already so many based there.

Khun Daroon said that peole who wanted to register vehicles usually bought their vehicles first, then applied for the legal documents.

''People then say, 'Why are you trying to stop me making a lving when I have already invested in a tuk-tuk vehicle?'' Khun Daroon added.

Sarayuth Mallam, Vice President of the Phuket Tourist Association, said that tuk-tuks were having a detrimental effect on tourism.

''Are you crazy?'' he said, addressing the meeting in general. ''There are already too many tuk-tuks and no space for parking in Patong.

''Registered or not, the image is bad and the harm is being done to tourism.''

Vice Governor Smit Palawichai chaired the meeting and said he would call another meeting for further debate before a decision is made.

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Big gasp for what little sense, if any, is left on this island ? Are you ting tong or baa mak mak, dude ?

Posted by Mouse on July 14, 2009 18:26


{quote]Sarayuth Mallam, Vice President of the Phuket Tourist Association, said that tuk-tuks were having a detrimental effect on tourism.

"Are you crazy?" he said, addressing the meeting in general. "There are already too many tuk-tuks and no space for parking in Patong."[/quote]

Hooray for K. Sarayuth!

Posted by D on July 14, 2009 21:09


Sure, more tuk-tuks. No sense in doing something reasonable like a bus service.

Posted by frank on July 14, 2009 21:45


Iis it possible to petition , or complain to the Phuket Tourist Association,and if so, how to go about it ????? I'm sure a lot of people would like to know .

Editor: The Governor has a post box for suggestions and is keen to hear good ideas. Send a letter to PO Box 101, Phuket City, 83000, or drop a note at the post box outside the Governor's Mansion in Phuket City.

Posted by elizabeth on July 14, 2009 22:37


Why not make it by law that all Tuk Tuk's shall have a taxi-meter ?
Taxi meters used on horse wagons 150 years ago, so it is very easy today to install.
Had not used a Tuk Tuk for more then 5 years, and tell all my friends who come not to do as well.

Posted by PH Phuket on July 14, 2009 23:18


Quite unbelievable.
Year after year the complaints from tourists have the tuk tuks at number 1.

On a recent visit to Patong, it was almost impossible to cross the beach road onto the footpath because the tuk tuks were DOUBLE parked nose to tail. There are clearly too many tuk tuks now.

Anyone visiting Patong can see that. Halving the numbers would mean few drivers getting more money. Goodness me - they could even reduce their fares!

Posted by MrSensible on July 15, 2009 07:05


The Governor is powerless to enforce any new laws or regulations against the Tuk Tuks, they are a law unto themselves. When they tried to enforce parking restrictions for Tuk tuks it was a sham. Unfortunately these little red overpriced annoying bits of junk will be part of Patong for the foreseeable future and the problems will continue. The thought of any increase in numbers is total lunacy.

Posted by Local on July 15, 2009 14:10


Here's an idea. Start with Baht buses in Patong. Same as they have in Pattaya. Running along Beach and Second Road.

This solves the problem of rip offs for short rides. Then get more metered Taxis.

The only way to rid ourselves of the Tuk Tuks is to starve them to death. If they have no rides they can ask all the money they want......

Posted by Max on July 15, 2009 16:20


I have been a regular visitor to Phuket over 15 years. I came back on one special trip after the tsunami to report back to New Zealand on the recovery.

TAT said the best thing we in NZ - and anywhere else - could do, was "to come visit". I agreed.

I still think it is 'a magic place'.

But in the last three years or so, there are changes for the worse. The tuk-tuk operators in Patong have become a law unto themselves, especially since the one way system was introduced. The price rises are extortion by any name justly earning the sobriquet of the 'tuk-tuk mafia'.

Time for someone to do something to rein things in before further damage to Phuket's image occurs.

Posted by rfdunedin on July 21, 2009 00:42


The TAT are changing their name to TIT. Nothing is ever going to change with the tuk tuks, they will just get worse. So TIT rules ok.

Posted by Mouse on July 21, 2009 08:57


The government needs to stamp out the mafia in Thailand and especially places like Phuket and Pattaya.

Can you really see that happening?

Get real.

Posted by Harry Barracuda on July 22, 2009 13:53


The failure of the local authorities to manage the situation speaks volumes. I avoid the tuk-tuks and tell anyone I know to boycott them as well. it worked for Martin Luther King when people of colour wanted to be treated as human beings on the Birmingham buses. It's worth a try on Phuket. I won't use a tuk tuk until I am treated fairly and honestly.

Posted by Angry Tourist on July 27, 2009 10:38

Wednesday July 17, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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