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High fares and parking hogs: two remaining  problems with Phuket tuk-tuks

Illegal Phuket Tuk-Tuks Warn of Protests

Saturday, February 14, 2015
PHUKET: Illegal tuk-tuk drivers banned from working on Phuket for months say they will protest unless they can be included back in Phuket's transport system, a meeting heard yesterday.

The 126 drivers were quickly detected and ordered to stop working when the military took over government in Thailand last year.

The drivers, who are all independent and drive vehicles with white plates, not yellow plates, say they will be forced to protest at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City if they are not allowed to work.

Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkaosutthirak asked Land Transport department officials to look at whether there was some way of absorbing the illegal drivers into the existing total of tuk-tuks, which number about 1300 on Phuket.

At the same time, the vice governor made the point that Phuket does not need more tuk-tuks and every effort should be made to maintain the present level of numbers of vehicles.

''About 70 percent of the island's tuk-tuks are based in Patong and it's well-known that the destination has huge parking problems because of these vehicles,'' he said.

At present, Land Transport officials told Phuketwan, there are 644 registered rear-entry tuk-tuks in three groups - Phuket Tavorn Transport (423) Phuket Sahayayon (115) and Ruamjai Yanyon Ttansport (106).

About 500 other tuk-tuks - a mix of both side entry and rear entry vehicles - are independently run. They form the ''Tuk-Tuk Divers' Club.''

Side-entry vehicles are mostly older vehicles and were once based solely in Phuket City, on the island's eastern coast. These days, most of the tuk-tuks in Patong are rear-entry vehicles.

Phuket's tuk-tuks and taxis have notoriously high fares that are six times those of Bangkok.

Phuket's ability to hold international events is limited by the extortionate cost of taxis and tuk-tuks. Most locals cannot afford to take taxis, even in emergencies.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


"They will be forced to protest at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City if they are not allowed to work."

Nothing preventing them from working- just not as ILLEGAL tuk tuk drivers. Plenty of honest work out there for those who want it, but better to sit on one's backside and do nothing other than want to feed off the fatted calf.

Posted by Mister Ree on February 14, 2015 09:05


There are plenty of jobs on phuket if these guys want to actually work, but they would rather sit around all day shouting "taxi" at every poor soul who walks past and then ripping off anyone who uses their service with extortionate and fixed pricing

Posted by Amazing Thailand on February 14, 2015 09:14


Their sense of self-entitlement is breath-taking.......

Posted by Sir Burr on February 14, 2015 09:22


Two big jokes today:
Joke nr 1, patong police is going to arrest tourist while sitting on their own chair on a public beach.
Joke nr 2: ILLIGAL tuk-tuk drivers 'warn'/blackmail the provincial government. Hard-headed or not understand the word ILLIGAL?

Posted by Kurt on February 14, 2015 09:26


Easy fix if they protest.... gather them all up and their Tuk Tuk's and take them off the island and ban them from ever returning to the island forever....

Posted by DG on February 14, 2015 10:02


I bet not one of these 126 drivers (non workers) are residents of Phuket. What the authorities needs to do is set up some kind of a job centre for Thai people. Then offer these people some of the many jobs available around the island. If they refuse, then put them on a non desirable register & deport them back to their own provinces.

There are probably loads of jobs in the building trade, refuse collection, hotel trade, & much more related to the tourism industry.

The authorities have to realise that we the expat residents (former in my case, as with many who lived years on Phuket), tourists & decent Thai people are sick to the teeth of these thugs, their intimidation & threats.

Posted by Logic on February 14, 2015 10:50

Editor Comment:

The country is Thailand, Logic. Thais are entitled to live where they please in Thailand. The same kind of general rule applies everywhere. It's called citizenship. Now that you've left, you no longer have a right to gripe. I suggest you find something else to moan about.


IF there no fishes world u build more fishingboats?

Posted by El marinero on February 14, 2015 11:24


So let me get this straight, if the illegal tuktuk drivers aren't allowed to continue conducting illegal activities, then they will hold an illegal assembly. I would imagine that their next threat might be to start commiting other crimes such as assault, drug dealing and robbery. Jeez, the audacity.

Posted by Ed Sanders on February 14, 2015 12:07


Amazing Phuket (and Thailand)
Soon we have the drug dealers, gun man, money launderers, human trafficers, brothel owners, illegal casino operators etc. protesting at Provincial Hall if we don't allow them to work.

Posted by Mr. K on February 14, 2015 13:06


It is all just tuk-tuk drivers bla-bla.
Or are they not understand marshal law which forbid presently demonstrations of more than 5 persons?

Posted by Kurt on February 14, 2015 14:06


Nice photo! Showing tuk-tuks illegal parking!! Should the patong police not arrest these law breaking tuk-tuk drivers instead of tourists in the beach, sitting in their own chair?

Posted by Kurt on February 14, 2015 14:41


The island cant sustain 1500 hundred or more tuk tuks total over saturation usually a over supply would increase competition and reduce prices but not on this island.

Posted by slickmelb on February 14, 2015 19:20


Where's the gripe?

It's a decent suggestion - Job Centre - place to find available employment.

Nobody has the right to threaten violence or to resort to crime as these people have done - as per your previous articles.

Phuket is part of Thailand - same rules across the country.

Just because I don't live there doesn't mean I wouldn't like to visit specifically for diving, without fear or threat

Posted by Logic on February 15, 2015 02:48


There is an employment center down in Phuket town where there are plenty of jobs on offer, provided you have the right experience and qualifications of course.

Slightly off-topic ...

Phuket urgently needs improved infrustructure, as the roads around the Island are already over-conjested with the sheer weight of traffic. The Governor must urgently implement an island-wide railway service to alleviate the growing problem of constant traffic jams, and the noise/pollution created as a result of increased vehicle usage.

The general 'good-feel' experience of Phuket is diminishing, the once tranquil environment has since long gone. IMHO, Phuket is losing it's Thai appeal, the magic that once brought tourists to the shores has dissapeared into a commercial frenzy of madness. Will we ever see the old ways again ?

Posted by reader on February 15, 2015 08:23


Can somebody, once and for all tell me who OWNS the Tuk Tuks, the legal ones,who are the named individuals or families who have their finger in this?. I have lived here for 12 years and yet nobody seems to know. Is there a media blackout on this taboo matter due to reprisal or secret intimidation

Posted by MR B on February 15, 2015 14:51

Editor Comment:

Many people own tuk-tuks, MR B.

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