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