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Dear DSI, Here's What Needs to Change

Dear DSI, Here's What Needs to Change

Thursday, September 12, 2013
PHUKET: Phuketwan does not usually publish anonymous material. We have no way of confirming whether the following account is factual. However, we also have no reason to doubt its authenticity. We hope the author goes to a Phuket Crime Crisis Centre to relay this in person, using a real name.

Open Letter to Bangkok DSI.

Dear Bangkok Department of Special Investigation currently in Phuket,

I am a foreigner working in the tourism and scuba diving industry in Phuket. I have managed both dive shops and hotels in Phuket for over a decade.

I have been proud to call Phuket my home, but I am deeply saddened and concerned at the islands future. I have witnessed first-hand the slow decline of the island's problems, the worst of which is the abysmal transportation situation.

The negative experiences that I, my friends, acquaintances, and tourists have encountered over the years are as extraordinary as they are endless, and they seem to only be getting worse.

As I follow your progress during this ''big clean-up,'' I see your focus so far is on black taxis, immigration, copyright infringement, and work permit violations. These are important issues, but they are not what are destroying this island.

It is the extortionate fares and mafia tactics of the legal and illegal tuk tuk/taxi co-ops that are destroying Phuket.

The problems are clear to anyone having had to live in and around this out dated transport system for any great period of time.

First, there are far too many taxis/tuk-tuks in Phuket, not even counting the illegal ones. They take up most parking and clog the roads in the tourist areas remaining idle most of the day and getting maybe just one or two fares a day.

If taxis and tuk-tuks in Phuket continue to be three to five times the price of those outside of Phuket, have no meters, no central dispatch, no posted fares on each vehicle, no out-of the-way queuing, and continue to use an antiquated village system which requires passengers to pay round trip fares for one way trips due to unofficial ''turf'' agreements enforced through threats and violence, then the islands problems are here to stay.

Best would be a seungtaw system like in Pattaya, Krabi and other places.

Phuket is the only place in Thailand where the taxi/tuk-tuks are specifically priced to be used by tourists only, and not locals. Without meters or prices posted on each and every tuk tuk, the tourist is left to negotiate fares to places which they have no idea how far they are from, or what a reasonable fare is.

This system makes it very easy for drivers to scam and overcharge tourists, which is the complaint I hear most.

Taxi/tuk tuk fares are three to five times more than other parts of Thailand which puts them on par with some of the most expensive taxi fares in the world. And according to the drivers I have spoke to, Phuket tuk-tuk/taxi drivers earn 30 to 50 thousand baht per month, which is on par with what a doctor makes in Thailand.

This leaves the local Thai people and expat residents in most areas of Phuket with no reasonably priced public transport options. Residents, including a very high percent of children, are forced to use motorbikes, a very dangerous way to travel.

As a result, hospital emergency rooms in Phuket see a steady stream of motorbike crash victims.

For the seriousness of the situation to be fully understood, I would like to share some recent personal stories from myself, my friends, and my guests:

I once witnessed over a dozen tuk-tuk drivers viciously attack two tourists at the top of Bangla road, near Jungcylon, taking turns beating the two tourists as they were curled up in a ball trying to protect themselves.

I watched the two bloodied tourists be taken away in the back of a Thai police pick-up truck. I reported this to the media who checked with local police and several embassies, but they could find no record of it.

This is not an isolated incident, as there have been numerous similar reports of this occurring at the same location in the media.

A friend of mine had a tuk-tuk driver brandish a firearm at him when my friend questioned a sudden fare increase upon arriving to his destination.

Another friend had his car keyed (scratched) when he parked in a public parking space near a tuk-tuk rank which tuk-tuk drivers presumed to be ''theirs.''

Once, when our company truck was unavailable, my company tried to hire a tuk-tuk to transport me, my dive student, and two scuba tanks from the north end of Kata Beach back to the dive shop 300 meters away.

Our Thai staff negotiated, but we were flat refused with no explanation given, stranding me and our guest at the beach.

Two young female guests at my hotel hired a tuk-tuk to Nai Harn from Kata Beach for 300 baht. When they were ready to return to Kata, the tuk-tuks at Nai Harn beach would not bring them back for less than 1000 baht.

The girls questioned why it was suddenly over three times the cost of the first trip, so the driver threatened and cursed at them. They were so terrified they checked out of our hotel immediately, vowing never to return to Phuket.

I have since checked and there are no posted tuk-tuk fares at Nai Harn Beach.

I have had two guests recently report that when they arrived at the airport and inquired about a taxi to Kata Beach, they were shown a map of Phuket with listed fares in each region. Kata was listed at 1800 baht.

Another guest arrived after midnight when the metered taxis aren't allowed to operate paid 4000 baht for a family of three, thinking that must be the normal fare.

The normal fare should be 800 baht, which is still three times the price of a Bangkok metered taxi.

I have been told countless times to move my car or motorbike from public parking by members of the tuk-tuk/taxi co-ops. It has been well reported that such incidents have turned violent, so I always obey.

Members of the taxi/tuk-tuk rank in front of my hotel have tried to intimidate our staff more than once, telling our staff we need to use them.

My Thai neighbor is in property sales. She often needs to pick up potential customers to view properties.

When she enters certain resorts, she is stopped and questioned by taxi/tuk-tuk drivers that have set up roadblocks outside the resort.

They have threatened her, telling her that she cannot pick up her customers because it's ''their turf.'' One driver called her a whore in front of her customers.

Another friend of mine's husband drives a taxi for an elephant trekking safari. Drivers outside a Kata Beach resort attacked him and his vehicle with crowbars while his passengers were still inside the vehicle when he tried to pick them up from a hotel which the tuk tuk drivers deemed ''their turf''.

Two of our guests were kicked out of an airport taxi on the opposite end of the beach from our hotel. The driver told them he was only paid to take them to Kata Beach, but not all the way to the hotel.

The driver put their luggage on the sidewalk and told them to get out as the driver then started to slowly drive away. The guests had to jump out of the moving taxi in order to not be separated from their luggage.

They then had to take another taxi which cost them another 200 baht to go just 500 meters to the hotel.

Approximately 50 percent of our guests who arrive from the airport by taxi or a van report being taken to a local tour counter outside the airport against their will, where they are then getting pressured to book tours, or even change hotels.

Some guests have reported they were told the driver did not know where our hotel was, or that it was not a good area, or even that it had burned down! The guests were then pressured to re-book with the agent.

On New Year's Night, our guests reported that the tuk-tuks on Bangla Road would not accept anything less than 1200 baht to be taken to Kata. A ''normal'' fare is 400 baht, a distance which would be about 80 baht in a Bangkok metered taxi, or 10 baht in a Pattaya or Krabi seungtaw, that is if the local tuk-tuk and taxi gangs were to allow seungtaws to operate here.

It is difficult to find a better example of a small group of greedy people creating such problems and negative image for the whole. These problems are entrenched and systemic, and are not going to be fixed easily.

But when they are fixed, it will have to be by someone from outside Phuket as there doesn't seem to be the political will on the island to solve the problems.

Crackdowns on ''black'' taxis, labor violations, and counterfeit goods alone are not going to do it. We need more affordable taxis that are able to pick up passengers close to where they drop off passengers, thus eliminating the need for each customer to pay for a round-trip price.

We need a hop-on hop-off seungtaw system, like other areas of Thailand. Major change needs to come Phuket before it's too late. My hope is that you can help us.

Please save our island.

Sincerely,

Concerned resident and businessman

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Well said, hope something changes.
The only other thing the place is filthy from the beach to the street, rats everywhere, Hope something changes Please DSI

Posted by Dobby on September 12, 2013 08:14

Editor Comment:

The DSI are not that kind of rat-catchers, Dobby. You need the DIY.

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Having lived on the island for the past decade as well I have seen how this place has deteriorated. Because it was once thriving and highly profitable to be working in Phuket, now everyone thinks Phuket is a place for easy money. Others flock to this place like it's a money pot and expect to dip their hands in for the honey just like that. Anyone who says no or tries to change the system to catch up with time is met with violent objections.

Having said that, please do not however lump all taxis into one mafia category. I have many good sincere honest friends who drive taxis, legal and illegal alike. Legal and illegal taxis have been made to pay large sums in order to join a "queue" for which they do not know if it was legal or not, but that they had to if they wanted to drive a taxi on the island. The queue amount often lead up to the tens of thousands of baht, depending on how hot the property is located. Drivers can earn 30 - 50 thousand a month, but a large portion of it goes to gasoline, vehicle payment and payment of the "queue" fees, leaving them with only THB 10000 to bring home. I do not agree with the mafia tactics, but at the risk of trying to rid these "mafias" and their systems, don't forget the small ordinnary individuals who still need to earn a living, intricately tied into their system and unable to get out without losing a lot.

Posted by May on September 12, 2013 08:23

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SPOT ON "Concerned resident and businessman", and I have been living here for 27 years, long before the south crept in.

Posted by Johnno on September 12, 2013 08:38

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Wouldnt the DSI protect, at least, the name of the person making the complaint?

Posted by paul on September 12, 2013 08:45

Editor Comment:

They are obliged not to divulge that kind of information.

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Well written and so true.

Posted by Nicke on September 12, 2013 08:56

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"I am a foreigner working in the tourism and scuba diving industry in Phuket." So mr. X, I agree with you that this is a very important topic, but from a person who works in close contact with nature I would have expected a lot more concern about the real harm that is inexorably and inevitably lead to death Phuket: pollution and destruction of the environment. These are the two main things that should be preserved: everything else by comparison, is peanuts...

Posted by dave on September 12, 2013 09:03

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The bottom line is this: Stay as far away from Phuket as you can! Punish that mafia run island and take your business where there are people happy to earn it. I live in Thailand and I have vowed to never return to Phuket! There are too many great places to go in SE Asia to put yourself through the "Phuket Hell".

Cheers to everyone!
David

Posted by David Stonham (USA with Thai wife & child) on September 12, 2013 09:04

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I feel like forwarding this myself!

Posted by Sean on September 12, 2013 09:15

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A fellow in my neighbourhood drives a 'metered' taxi. he says he earns roughly 90k/month, with a third going on costs... not a bad earner! He left a teaching job to do it.

Posted by Sean on September 12, 2013 09:28

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It's a huge problem extending through the top of Government here.
I picked up my friends last night, 9:30, at the Phuket airport. No changes. Black taxi drivers inside, aggressive drivers (with no smile) outside. I walked outside with my friend and my wife (Thai) and told them to wait on the sidewalk while I got our car. Pulled up to load the luggage, in 3 seconds a surly Thai "guard" told me to move my car. My wife explained we were just putting the luggage in car not waiting. He would have none of it, came over to me and in crude Isaan Thai told me to move now. Around me are green plate & black taxis - they are laughing. My wife said sorry - I say sorry, and back away to leave. I love Phuket, my wife (born in Phuket) and Thailand. But if this doesn't change Phuket will never have high quality tourists.

Posted by Gary on September 12, 2013 09:46

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Excellent letter.

Until the transportation issue with the thuggish behaviour is addressed, all else is window dressing.

Posted by sir burr on September 12, 2013 09:53

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Anyone who works in the tourism industry needs a criminal background check, health check, followed with an ID card visible to tourists..
Then we need a special unit from the TAT to enforce this..
We need more complaints, feedback, assistance stations.. We need reps to sit with minibus drivers, to help them, and the tourists.. We need taco in lorries, minibuses and buses, so they can be monitored..
We need the police to get more than10000 a month, priveliges and a pension..
Bars that have bar girls need to go, we need a better visa on arrival...
We need better treatment of animals..
We need to stop human trafficking...
The list goes on, and on...
Think Columbia, and you have Phuket, not accept then leave!

Posted by Tuk on September 12, 2013 10:11

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Good article. There are problems with transportation here but it's a local government issue. At last someone has said to the police 'get off your a*** and do some work. The result is a reported 1200 arrest in August. At last. Good story thank you.

Posted by gee on September 12, 2013 10:19

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Dave - I couldn't agree with you more. This once glorious, quite extraordinary, island (and the nearby surrounding islands) has been absolutely trashed, a process that continues unabated. From a largely pristine state (aside from the tin mining - both onshore and offshore) in the mid 70s, to the 30/40 baht a night bamboo bungalows in the early to mid 80s, to the despoilation of that former gem of a beach Kata Noi in 1990 when it was selfishly colonised by the Kata Thani. From around that time dramatic change became very apparent though in hindsight that now seems almost insignificant by comparison. How much longer will it be until the water at all the island's beaches will be like Patong, or should I say Pattaya or Bang Saen? Recalling the crystal clear state of the water of another age can almost make you weep. And sure the price gouging and intimidation of the taxi and tuk-tuk riff-raff makes you sick to the stomach. Really hope some positive, thoughtful (no laughing out there) developments take place on that front, but in the overall scheme of things environmental degradation (also encompassing the ever more horrendous traffic) is a far more significant issue though an exceedingly complex and difficult one to address.

Posted by Kaen Phet on September 12, 2013 10:29

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If his/her personal details are not given out, I am stunned this person has not made a complaint.

Posted by paul on September 12, 2013 10:35

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Well written and I am sure many Expats have shared similar experiences and seen problems.

The only problem now is - since English is such a complicated language, this MUST be translated in Thai then put to the powers that be.

People may say they can read English etc, but truly a proper translation posted in Media outlets and made Public so Thai people can comment as well would be marvellous.

Posted by Tbs on September 12, 2013 10:39

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My neighbor is driving a mini-van for tours and fares, earning about 40.000,- per month + commissions. Got a house, got a car and works only 4-5 days a week.

Posted by Jakub on September 12, 2013 10:47

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I don't believe that many taxi drivers get as much as a net revenue of 50000 thb/month. Unless they take fees from the business to which they send potential customers.

Posted by tik tok on September 12, 2013 11:07

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@May.
10000 thb bring to home? This guy should be the most laziest driver on the island. Go around the island in early morning (around 4-6 a.m.) and you would see near what houses these tuk-tuks/taxis parked, what private cars are parked near the same place and you would have clearer vision of their earnings.

Posted by Stranger on September 12, 2013 11:40

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If government really wanted to save this island from destruction, they would stop to give any permissions for construction in the first place and work out long-term plan for development. But it means, that their incomes would decline. The island is dirty and overcrowded already. Plus problems with these gangs. Quality tourist will never choose this island for holidays (if not deceived by their travel agent about real situation here) until anything could be changed dramatically.

Posted by Stranger on September 12, 2013 11:48

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ANY driver delivering 'guests' to an attraction or service gets paid a commission on the ticket price. Handsome money for zero effort. This is what Phuket is about. And why there are traffic and transport issues, every low life wants a piece of this disgusting tax exempt pie.

Posted by gee on September 12, 2013 11:48

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I am very familiar with some of these problems, and hear the same stories from guests that I meet. I have been with some of those stories to the DSI , only to be met with busy women, who are combing their hair, play with their mobile phone, and chat with each other, instead of assisting me. The DSI is trying to make themself look good in the eyes of the media, but when i went for help, I was turned away, with the excuse that, maybe I was wrongly informed about the complaints of the guests. My name is printed here, and I am not afraid to use it, but I become desperate, with all these lazy people, that are just pretending to be busy.

Posted by Charles on September 12, 2013 11:48

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Since 2007 the percent of our quality tourists dropped from 70% to 5% in 2013. The middle-class level remained the same - about 30%. But now about 65% of our clients are low-quality tourists staying in 2-3* cheap accommodations buying food at 7/11 and services at street tour counters. Reasons? The same: 1. Phuket is dirtier and more overcrowded from year to year. 2. Deteriorating attitude of locals to guests (mostly from the side of taxi/tuk-tuk/jet ski criminals). 3. Availability of another high-quality destinations with better service and attitude.

Posted by Stranger on September 12, 2013 11:59

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These comments are exactly in line with my experience. Unfortunately, I have no confidence that any of the problems will get fixed. My hotel actually promotes our location as being close enough to everything in Patong that guests do not have to go through the unpleasant process of dealing with tuk-tuk drivers.

Posted by Anonymous on September 12, 2013 12:51

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Everyone agrees on this problem - very clearly written in this article.

However, what really saddens me is the thread through many reader's comments, especially those who have resided in Phuket for long time or have been long time visitors, of the very noticeable deterioration in all aspects of this once lovely island.

Some used to say "if you don't like Phuket, or you cannot accept these changes, then leave". Too many have; or in the case of once regular visitors, no longer come back.

The horse has bolted, but if you close the stable door & put out some food, then it might come back.

Posted by Logic on September 12, 2013 13:12

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Erm, how did the PW come by this 'open letter', if it was addressed to the Bangkok DSI?

Posted by agogohome on September 12, 2013 13:12

Editor Comment:

Open letters are usually delivered in a public forum.

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Anybody who has not been living on Phuket for a while would not believe the contents of this letter, but sadly a a long term ex pad here I can nod recognizing to every word. Guess everybody here have shared at least one of Mr X. and his acquaintances experiences. Very understandable that he prefer to be anonymous.

Posted by Sherlock on September 12, 2013 14:44

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Thank you all for your comments and support.

@ May; Thank you for your reply. I could't agree more. I also know some very nice taxi and tuk tuk drivers. I don't think I gave the impression that the problem is with the individual drivers, with perhaps a few exceptions such as the queue at the top of Bangla near Jungceylon.

@Dave & Kean phet; Thank you for your replies. You both make excellent points and I couldn't agree more about the wholesale environmental destruction occurring on and around Phuket. But it is incorrect to assume that because I have chosen to write this letter on this specific topic that I and others like me aren't also involved in conservation efforts here. It is actually one of the most important issues to me, and there are some very dedicated individuals both in Phuket and out that are trying to make a difference. If you want to also make a difference on the conservation front, please look up, join and support one or more of the following organisations; Go Eco Phuket, Bang Tao Green Club, The Kamala Green Club, SEEK, The Dive Tribe, and Clean the Beach Bootcamp (Kata), Fin Free Thailand, Project AWARE, cleanuptheworld.org etc.

@paul; Thank you for your reply. Many of the incidents I have described above were in fact reported, but unfortunately I usually find out about them after they happen, and the fact is tourists do not take note of ID numbers of taxi drivers or their vehicles when they are involved in a disagreement or altercation. They are in a strange land, tired, and just want to get to their hotel. Many, if not most tourists will accept that 1800-4000B is the normal fare when a driver tells them, since most do not do research on what a taxi fare to their hotel should be, and most do not want to create an altercation. Usually the best we can do is call on the media to interview them, which I do regularly.

@tbs; I have not sent the letter directly to the DSI yet partially because I would like to get it translated first. I have looked into it and to get something of this size professionally translated is not cheap. If anyone would like to help with this, feel free to contact me at savephuket@gmail.com.

@agagohome; Thank you for your reply. To answer your question, I emailed the letter directly to Phuketwan.

I would also like to add that I wrote this before the Jungceylon tuk tuk rank captains Sern and Pom Sukkasam were arrested. That would seem to be a step in the right direction, but I will remain cautiously optimistic.

Thanks to Ed for publishing this.

Posted by Concerned resident and businessman on September 12, 2013 20:03

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Good proposal I certainly agree, every tuk tuk stand have 7-12 drivers. Most of them are rude and bad mannered. It's time to change their attitude and to make a well profile of this island.

Posted by Katal on September 12, 2013 21:37

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@ stranger Perfect posting!! since more then 20 years i come to thailand, but Patong/phuket is the worst place i've seen ever. Easy solution.. not come to phuket anymore! sorry my english is not so good, i'm from Austria.

Posted by rudolf on September 12, 2013 22:09

Editor Comment:

Your English is fine, rudolf. No need to worry. Why do you say Patong is the worst?

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Having read posts here and elsewhere I have reluctantly just cancelled my upcoming holiday to Phuket..Well I've been thinking about it anyway,for 6 years in fact,and if I had any doubts as to the validity of the reports herein I might have apprehensively given Phuket yet one more try..
Sadly it seems mass tourism,and all the greedy nasty's that go with it,is now totally out of control..
After spending much of '80s on Phuket I last visited the island again most recently in '99 and again in'07..
On each of these occasions a severe decline in quality of both services, safety, cost, attitude and most of all the environment was evident. Patong resembled an unfriendly version of Pattaya at about triple the price. I was constantly harassed by tailor shop types and worse...Savage (non Thai) guys who just wouldn't take no for an answer..Even at Kata I found myself having to cross the road to avoid one particularly persistent creep(non Thai)..
Sorry to say but Phuket was never the friendliest,least of all safest,place in Thailand but what it lacked in this it more than made up for in glorious undeveloped, unpolluted, pristine white beaches, turquoise water, superb cuisine and more..And until the mid '90s was not overcrowded..
For me it's the water pollution more than the rest that's the final straw..I could have got over the muggings on two occasions (once by ladyboys on motocy on Karon beach Rd) and the other a bag snatch in Phuket town, but not the dirty, smelly, effluent laden beaches..
Memories now flow back of my last swim at Kata and trying to find a gap between the toxic, polluted crap and plastic bags/bottles and more floating in the water so I might take a quick dip..
Really,I ask myself now,do I need to travel half way across the planet for more of this ?
Well, I guess one can't continue to reminisce about Kata Noi, Nai Harn, Laem Ka, Laem Sing, Surin, etc ,as they were when I first went to the island in the early '80s..And I suppose I must be grateful for experiencing what most haven't.. As your contributor "Jonno" knows there were not so many of us farang on Phuket 27 years ago..
The '90s spelled the end of Patong,and Phuket in general, as a real paradise..From at least the mid '90s it seemed to become over run with tourists and rampant uncontrolled development..A huge influx of Thai businesses sprung up overnight seeking to get in on the tourist bandwagon..It ceased to be a laid back venue..
I lament the loss of those halcyon '80s where there were scarcely sealed roads enough on Phuket to even travel about let alone an abundance of rip-off tuk tuk drivers..(Many might recall the long trip from Kata to Patong via Kathu..or the alternative perilous journey "over the hill", in convoy or jeep as possible,avoiding dirt road potholes that could swallow a bike..And bone jarring corrugations.. And that was in the dry on a good day..Or the only road to Kamala from Patong via Thalang)

I can't even recall these now ubiquitous red tuk tuks being around back then...In fact I can't remember any taxis much except the black toyota crowns for which one would queue and share expenses to anywhere in Thailand..Or Penang even, or god knows where else..
Later when these red things did appear I think the price for a short trip was 20-30 baht..Oh well !!
There are obviously still unspoiled places in Thai but none like Phuket.. Farewell my dear old friend !!

Posted by jonnyboy on September 14, 2013 14:40

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Well we can only hope the DSI will read listen n act.

My husband used 2 go to phuket for the past 25 yrs every 2nd year for 3mth periods at a time, sadly he not with us anymore, but he would of been devastated to see what has become of his 2nd home .
Please look after your beautiful island n people.

Posted by Nikki on September 16, 2013 19:10

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Your Honour Mr Judge PW Editor: I really do not get why you do not publish my post. (moderated)

Posted by paul on September 19, 2013 09:54

Editor Comment:

Because, paul, your post is a gross exaggeration and a long way from the truth.Phuket's problems do not need to be regurgitated, especially with the sensationalist icing of other outlets liberally applied. Capital letters fail to impress us. Suggesting solutions is a lot more difficult. As a 10-year resident, you should be full of bright ideas. Shouldn't you?

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Just come back from Phuket for first time. Beautiful place and some nice people. Will not go back because of corrupt practices such as jet skis, tuk tuk's, scammers etc. Such a shame but there are lots of equally beautiful places without all the problems

Posted by bud on September 19, 2013 10:37

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@Dear concerned res.& busin.
Reading this letter and another that you wrote where you got answer from phuket officers, makes me think that this problem will be far from being fixed in short term. I've made my mind about this which I would like to express here but it seems that Your Honour PW Editor is against my post which "is a gross exaggeration and a long way from the truth" claiming that phuket problems do not need "to be regurgitated, especially with the sensationalist icing of other outlets liberally applied". Besides, Your Honour is against people using capital letters (which I used in some occasions to make a point, not to impress or shout) and he feels like to apply 'moderated' when he wants to hide a post inviting him to publish a 'code of rules and regulations' in his website so people know if their comment will be published or not. Having said that (which will be posted as 'moderated' or not at all), I give my solution: taxis and tuk-tuks must apply reasonable fares by introducing meters which they have to switch on and stick to the system. Police and DSI must punish any reported abuse and crack down on illegal operators. Taxi and tuk-tuk licence must be limited and a better organized and honest public service needs to be implemented. This are my ideas as a 10 years resident which are basically the same as many long term expats in Phuket. We can say this over, over and over again. And what ? What is the achievement of saying our bright ideas Your Honour besides making your day more fulfilled ?

Posted by paul on September 19, 2013 12:38

Editor Comment:

Metered taxis are unlikely to be introduced without a call centre. Once taxis can be properly monitored, authorities can control the industry. It's a more effective concept than expecting police to check taxi meters.

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again with the call centre nonsense......

Posted by smik on September 19, 2013 13:18

Editor Comment:

Without a call centre, there is no likelihood of drivers opting to abandon the big rip-off - the charge they make for an empty return trip. The greater the chances of a fare going back to base, the more appealing change becomes. But there could be some drivers who are, like you, too blinkered to understand.

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imposing leal requirement and enforcing meter use avoids the need for any "opting" by taxi drivers. The dog should wag the tail....

Posted by smik on September 19, 2013 13:47

Editor Comment:

As most people realise, smik, enforcement is not an option . . . except through call centre controls.

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"As most people realise..." You just made that up, didn't you Ed?
It's abundantly clear from previous threads on this subject that most of your readers would disagree, and want to see immediate introduction of enforcement of meter use, and you are virtually alone on the "call centre as pre-requisite" nonsense.

Posted by smik on September 19, 2013 14:16

Editor Comment:

If what you say is correct, smik, then ''most readers'' haven't really looked at the problem or the solution closely. ''Most readers,'' though, don't comment. There is no enforcement method capable of being sustained on Phuket without a call centre recording all arrangements. Only a call centre creates the capacity to check on complaints - whether or not there are taxi meters. Negotiating fares would work in similar fashion, But the key is having a record of the taxi trip and the fare. That requires a call centre.

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"It's abundantly clear from previous threads on this subject that most of your readers would disagree, "
You really think that comments by the few are any indication of what most readers think?

Posted by stevenl on September 19, 2013 14:49

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Well if you're going to split hairs... "most commentors" then.
And who is going to operate said call centres - the Taxi m**ia, I mean Taxi companies?

Posted by smik on September 19, 2013 15:05

Editor Comment:

The Land Transport Department.

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Q "It's abundantly clear from previous threads on this subject that most of your readers would disagree, "
You really think that comments by the few are any indication of what most readers think?

A Where there's a significantly large volume of respondents to an emotive issue, and 98% share a similar view, then yes.

Posted by smik on September 19, 2013 16:54

Editor Comment:

It's certainly occurred to me, smik, that on some issues, a particular type of response can be expected from a small, active group of commenters. If Phuketwan averages 7000 readers a day, and an article on taxi meters attracts, say, 100 comments, is it possible to deduce that those comments accurately represent the views of 7000 readers? Or are they more likely to be the views of the small but active niche group?
The other question is, does having a majority support a particular viewpoint make that viewpoint right? Or is it possible for 99 commenters of one view to be wrong and the one commenter who takes a different view to be right?

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Ed there is no way to know the views of the so-called silent majority unless perhaps you set up a poll. But it would be folly and in fact counter-inyuitive to assume they would take the opposite view of the "vocal" minority(by which I obviously mean active respondents)
The answers to your 4 questions are:

1. No, but see comments above (there is equally no basis to assume they do not represent the majority view)
2. A niche group perhaps, but why not assume a representative sample of views
3. Not according to you if it is in conflict with your view, but assuming your readers are reasonably intelligent and time-served Phuketians, then yes.
4. Generally not The 1% guy is generally very statisticallywrong, or a visionary, or an inflexibile congenital idiot. I know which one my money is on.

Posted by smik on September 19, 2013 18:07

Editor Comment:

I have to say you can't tell down from up or right from wrong, smik, That's your problem. Please don't trouble the rest of us with it.

I'm not interested in your empty, self-righteous outlook. You are arguing about nothing. My time is not going to be wasted.

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Ed

Please name any other country in the world or Thai jurisdiction where a call cantre is run by the government and not (in all cases in my experience in Asia) by the taxi companies themselves. Your idea is a non-starter.

Posted by smik on September 19, 2013 18:34

Editor Comment:

Name me another country or town anywhere in the world with a taxi problem like Phuket's, smik. ''Do what they do everywhere else'' is not a logical answer.
Sorry, i don't have time to listen to one commenter when the views of 6999 others are so far unrepresented, and more likely to be right.

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I agree 100% to the initial post.

I came first time to Phuket 2009. Since then I come every year 2-3 time to Phuket. I work hard at my home(Swiss) and I "always" enjoy to be in Phuket(Rawai) to make party with my local friends. I not need stay at 5star hotel because my home is like a 5star+ hotel. Fore sure I need some luxus for my holiday: I need aircon, I like pool, clean room, good bed(1500Bhat)... I like go eat at thai restaurants, street kitchens and market. I look for something different then I have at home. I like to make "friends" Thais and Falangs. I like to invite and spend money because it's my holiday and for me it's still very cheap. I not go often to the beach because the beach is not very special. It is dirty and in rain season dangerous too(I'm a good swimmer but not stupied). Sometimes I drink to much but never start fight or very crazy... And always my "friends", special the Thais take very good care on me. I know it's because I'm a spendable person and never be unfriendly or disrespectful. I'm a guest in Phuket and I not make a difference between somebody have mony or not. We are all humans and I know I'm a very lucky one.

But I not like to be cheated! I know many places in Thailand and Phuket got worser and worser everytime I come. The first impression at the airport with the taxis is very bothersome after a flight of 12h... Everytime they want have more... There is no alternativ! Sometimes a friend pick me up :) But not always. I think for somebody come first time to Phuket this is a unforgottable experiance.

I always got a scooter from
a friend for small money... I not like to drive long distances but for go around in Rawai it's ok. Sometimes I like go to Central Festival for shopping or Cinema but always I got pissed by prices for the taxis or shuttle bus from the hotel... I not like to be cheated!

More and more hotels, villas, condomiuns and bars are build... But no guests. More and more cars but no new roads...
I think the iland loose the beauty long time ago and maybe the future too.

I would not recomend holiday in Phuket anymore.

Now after two weeks in Phuket I stay 40Km from Khon Kaen. In a small, nice hotel with big pool and nice rooms (600bhat) managed by a Thai man. 1 coke 13bhat :) Fride rice with pork 35Bhat...
I not need this cheap prices but I like to have the same prices like the locals.
I not like to be cheated!

For sure I come back to Phuket because I not want disapoint my local "frindes" and I will still try to support them. But I not know how many time more I will come if nothing changes...

Last 3 sentences: I not belive the local goverment of Phuket can/wil change something. But I'm always open for a suprise ;) Good luck Phuket.

- Sorry for my bad english -

Long life the king,

Thanks and regards,
Micky

Posted by Montsie on September 21, 2013 02:08

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@Micky
BRAVO!!!!! for your posting witch i can
only underline!

A NEW experience in KOH KHO KHAO (island near Khao lak) There are TWO
differet Menue Cards!!! one for Thai
and one for Farangs. it looks like we are the Cash-cow and its a Olympic discipline to cheat us.

Posted by rudolf on September 21, 2013 19:25

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fed up with tuk tuks/taxis on Phuket..damned greedy creeps..I won't be back because of them.

Posted by Allan M on October 9, 2013 12:33

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I have been together with my husband for the past 5 years with a son only for my husband to tell me that he was no longer interested in our married, saying that he want a divorce all because he had found another woman. when i heard this i was so sad beyond measure, that i pleaded with him with every thing i had but he refused.
I had to seek for help because i loved my husband too much to let him go, i met someone on line who directed me to spell caster who helped her before. she asked me to contact the spell caster, of which i did.The spell caster told me to stop sharing tears that everything will be all right that i will have my husband back in 3 days, she asked me to do all that she asked me to and i did them, i want the world to know that am a not a fan of mystical powers, put i had no choice.
On the 2day i got a call from my husband asking for forgiveness from me and wanting to come back to me, when i had this i was so happy and overwhelmed that i have vowed to publish the work of the great spell caster, she is indeed genuine. You can contact her on (ANNASHELLY42@GMAIL.COM) for help on any problem you may be facing in life, be it on relationships, illness, pregnancy, etc.

Posted by barney on May 21, 2015 00:03

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If this man go to a Crime Crisis Centre
and give them his real name, I hope he have enough money to bei him self a coffin.

Posted by Detlef Karg on July 18, 2015 20:43

Editor Comment:

I guess you are a non-brave person, DK, who doesn't understand how change is impeded by cowards who do nothing.


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