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No more island tuk-tuks: Numbers on Phuket are to be capped at 1200

Phuket's All Meters Taxi Revolution Underway

Thursday, July 17, 2014
PHUKET: The Phuket revolution for taxis and tuk-tuks includes a huge cut in present fares, compelling all further registered taxis to carry meters and a complete ban on any more tuk-tuks.

''The 100 or so illegal tuk-tuks now operating will be forced off Phuket's roads,'' a meeting heard yesterday, ''and all taxis that register on Phuket from now on will be fitted with meters.''

Land Transport Department bosses in Bangkok are now deciding on the kilometre rate for Phuket's metered cabs - and the present fares are certain to be slashed at least in half.

This is because the metered cabs, like the set-fare cabs, also charge for the journey back to base that the passenger does not take. So with meter taxis operating freely all over Phuket, there is no longer need for the double-payment.

With the illegal ranks banished, and call centres and more meter-taxis coming, the revolution overthrowing the taxi and tuk-tuk monopoly - called by some ''the mafia'' - is underway at full throttle.

It's a victory in the making because of the hard work of transport officials - Phuket Land Transport chief Teerayuth Prasertpon was Phuketwan's Person of the Year 2012 - with Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtadav and the Army.

At a key gathering of district chiefs, police, transport officers and the Army yesterday, the fine details of the new system were spelled out.

An illegal taxi driver who mustered courage to attend the meeting with half-a-dozen others stood up and said: ''I'm ready to register as a green-plate taxi.''

Vice Governor Jamleran said: ''You've had two years to register. Phuket Province has tried hard and given you plenty of chances. No more compromises.

''In the near future, Phuket will certainly become an island with all-metered taxis, and the present fares will be cut in half.''

The vice governor said that all taxis registered from now on would be compelled to become meter taxis, with Phuket Land Transport fitting the meters for a fee.

Patong police are already visiting all resorts in the west coast holiday hub to structure a call centre system.The system should be in operation from next Friday, July 25, in Kata-Karon.

A call centre will probably also be operating in Patong before August. Yet to be involved are 21 resorts in Karon where the taxi drivers already have established counters.

Holding pens for large numbers of green-plate taxis will be set up all over Phuket and cab details will be recorded at the holding centres by controllers.

With metered taxis roaming the island freely while the green-plate taxis wait at holding centres, the best option for drivers appears to be to switch to meters. Vice Governor Jamleran said he expected all of Phuket's taxis to be metered taxis within a few years.

In Patong, there will be nine spots for up to three waiting taxis or tuk-tuks each along beach road, south to north. Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi Road will have 12 similar parking spots, with all other parking available to the public.

As many as 400 green-plate taxis will be at the holding centre near Tritrang Beach, where they will be numbered and called in as required by walkie talkie controllers liaising with a call centre. Other green-plates will be permitted to wait along the beachfront in Kalim, ready to head north if required.

The number of tuk-tuks operating on Phuket has been capped at 1200 and about 100 illegal tuk-tuks would be forced off the roads, the meeting was told.

Elsewhere in Phuket, holding bays are to be established for taxis. In Karon, 18 parking spots are to be established for three green-plates or tuk-tuks apiece - although some said 18 was too many - with 13 in neighboring Kata.

Taxis for the Kata-Karon district will be held in a call-in pen close to the sea rescue centre, alongside Club Med. A second holding pen has been established on the Karon beachfront, where the beach road turns sharply right for Patong.

In Phuket City, holding parks are being established at Central Festival Phuket, Phuket International Hospital, Naka Market, the Deep Sea Port, Rassada Pier, and both bus terminals.

Other holding bays are being set up at Chalong Pier, Rawai beach, and in the north outside the Holiday Inn at Mai Khao.

All new taxi drivers - and probably the existing ones eventually - will undergo criminal history checks and be obliged to prove their proficiency and their service mentality.

The new rate for meter-taxi fares will include a 50 baht flagfall, and a decision on the per kilometre rate - cut at least by half - is expected from Bangkok any day now. The Phuket taxi revolution is underway.

Phuketwan was the only English-language Phuket news outlet with a reporter at yesterday's meeting.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Just wondering Ed, seems the Vice Governor is doing a lot more on these issues than the actual Governor, any idea why???

Posted by phuket madness on July 17, 2014 17:38

Editor Comment:

Delegation, phuket madness. Each of Phuket's three vice governors has been given specific tasks by the governor, who oversees all activities.

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CHAMPAGNE for all at the expense of Phuket tuk-tuk drivers...

Posted by Whistle-Blower on July 17, 2014 17:38

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Hardly can believe in what I am reading...

Hope very much that the Army will press this until the end - until the system is really functioning, not subject to the Army easing its grip.

This green season brought a lot of surprises!

Thais and farangs are becoming steadily a bit happier...

Posted by Sue on July 17, 2014 17:41

Editor Comment:

One of these days we will interview the first Thai residents of Phuket who are able to afford a taxi on special occasions.

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YES finally

Posted by Arthur Gane on July 17, 2014 17:48

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It certainly seems like a revolution is on its way. It might even happen this time it seems.

Posted by Chris on July 17, 2014 18:03

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And how about cutting AOT's taxi surcharge? It's currently twice Suvarnabhumi's at 100B.

Also, can someone pass onto the army they that missed a taxi sala in front of Swisshotel Kamala, and a couple more in front of The Sala and Renaissance Mai Khao Beach.

Posted by NomadJoe on July 17, 2014 18:11

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Thank you PhuketWan for keeping us abreast of all developments in the evolutionary changes going on at present. I hope these are permanant changes, not just media show changes.

Posted by Robin on July 17, 2014 18:22

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will the tuk tuks also have to sit in the holding pens with the metered cabs?

Posted by sky on July 17, 2014 18:32

Editor Comment:

Yes.

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50% off of what?...as existing fares vary quite a bit...50% off of 1500?, 700?, 1200?...and I'm also curious as to who is going to monitor making sure there are no more than the alloted amount of taxis on the roads..especially late at night...the police?

Posted by zig on July 17, 2014 18:43

Editor Comment:

Meter taxis have set rates.

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At last! Finally it looks like the mobs stranglehold will be broken. This is the best read i've had this year.
Even cut by 50% the fares will still be high, but its a huge step in the right direction.

Posted by jimbo34 on July 17, 2014 18:48

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I thought for sure this was a prank headline when i first read it!

So does this mean that the bumper to bumper tuktuk lines in front of Jungceylon will go away?

Posted by James Bond on July 17, 2014 18:51

Editor Comment:

Yes.

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Like many taxis in Bangkok at rush hours or at night, most of the new registrated taxis will refuse to use the meter during this day or night time and the customers, farangs of course, will be obliged to pay the same price as now or may be more than now.

Posted by JiPe on July 17, 2014 18:55

Editor Comment:

Isn't it a bit premature for guesswork and supposition? If you always assume the worst, you may never enjoy a positive outcome.

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"Vice Governor Jamleran said: ''You've had two years to register. Phuket Province has tried hard and given you plenty of chances. No more compromises."
Well bloody said!

Posted by Tbs on July 17, 2014 18:58

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Hell has finally frozen over, I never thought I would see the day

Awesome news, well done to the army, Phuket can join the rest of the civilized world any day soon.

Posted by Amazing Thailand on July 17, 2014 19:00

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It is not only in Phuket action going on nationwide . they are doing their job much more than we all accepting...We salute army...

Posted by JM on July 17, 2014 19:29

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Great announcement.
Parking space in Patong a coup'd'etat was needed. The little things show Thailand on a promising way to a more Singapurean future. Even that people cannot sneak their cheap European bought LV bags through customs anymore.

Posted by Lena on July 17, 2014 20:22

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It's a good change. Nevertheless, it also means lesser income for these people. No one will be able to accept the reduction in income and hence some may resought to illegal activities. Actions must be taken to increase the safety of tourist and residents on the island. Heavy penalty must be implement for those who may adjust the meter to cheat fare and so on.

Posted by thai in phuket on July 17, 2014 20:37

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Great news, even though I rarely use taxis... maybe now I might. The only thing I found troubling is that criminal background checks for existing drivers will occur "eventually". They are the existing problem due to their criminal mindset. They need to go...make room for new honest people that appreciate the new opportunity.

Posted by Ed Sanders on July 17, 2014 23:34

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I cannot compliment Khun Jamieran and Khun Terrayuth enough on their tireless and honest hard work .
These are the type of official needed all over Thailand to see it cement its place in ASEAN and I commend the army for giving them the support that they have been waiting so long for!
Good job.
These reforms will enable average Thai people to afford to catch a taxi when they need to. I hope to see the songthaew service Fully operational between all communities again soon as well!

Posted by Chob on July 18, 2014 02:01

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very good news !! at last, please add all taxis with the same color to help identify legal and black taxis .

Posted by Anonymous on July 18, 2014 02:11

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I have travelled from the metered taxi stand at the airport many times this year. Not once has a driver used the meter, What is the point of meter taxis if not policed.

Posted by dave on July 18, 2014 04:47

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Fantastico. STOP mafia!!!!

Posted by Odino on July 18, 2014 05:04

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I can not believe the pace this is happening. I look forward to being back in 5 weeks to see the new look. Was last there in January in High season so the change will be dramatic.

Posted by DaveMc60 on July 18, 2014 07:23

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Its good to hear - there is a report on a forum of a guy 2 days ago tried to park on beach road and was again confronted by taxi drivers to move - "this is our area" - its interesting that these guys mindset is still the way it is. I have a feeling tough action will need to be deployed with some of these guys.

Posted by Ciaran on July 18, 2014 08:01

Editor Comment:

Reports on forums are only accurate sometimes, Ciaran. Spend too much time on them and gossip consumes the facts.

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One thing I would like to hear more about is the process in which this new system will be monitored and followed through.

Posted by sky on July 18, 2014 10:08

Editor Comment:

''Do your job'' pretty much sums it up. That's the order.

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Really...really? I'm still finding this too hard to believe it all sounds too good to be true..maybe this time it actually is true..really??? What time of year is it? Must be Christmas..

Posted by Andrew wattson on July 18, 2014 11:06

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@JiPE easy just tell them to stop and get out of taxi if they don't use meter, this needs to be a joint effort the customers must be strong enough to refuse a taxi that.doesn't turn on meter

Posted by Andrew wattson on July 18, 2014 11:09

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(moderated)

Posted by jonty on July 18, 2014 11:18

Editor Comment:

Jonty, We encourage serious contributions here, not parrots reciting mindless doomsayer dirges. Come back when you have something that adds value.

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At night's there are parked up to three rows of tuk-tuks on Rat-U-Thit Rd. in Patong. When will they be removed?

Posted by Sherlock on July 18, 2014 12:11

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Well done Mr. Morison.. it looks almost like th Army read Phuket wan for years.. and thoose who think that it can change the dirty drivers to other illegal activities its also a possiblility that they going home where ever they come from and get all the Karma thrown right in their faces..... the Christmas is over....

Posted by frog on July 18, 2014 12:28

Editor Comment:

It's very odd, frog, that virtually all the suggestions made by Phuketwan are being taken up, one by one, beginning with our idea that Phuket need for a benevolent dictator. We know the Royal Thai Navy reads us. It's quite possible the Army does, too. We will try to say something positive about you next week.

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What about elsewhere, Chiang Mai airport for example?

Posted by John on July 18, 2014 18:18

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My niece got a taxi from karon to the airport yesterday, 1200 Baht!
In Chiang Mai, I regularly hire a cab from 06.00 til 18.00 for 1000 Baht.
I stopped coming to Phuket in 2006, because it `priced` itself out of the market.

Posted by Fred on July 21, 2014 11:46


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