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A Phuket crowd gathers today to watch a Patong taxi shack tumble

Patong Taxi Shacks Topple: How Far Will the New Deal Go?

Saturday, June 7, 2014
PHUKET: A prominent taxi shack toppled on the Patong beach road today as the President of the Tuk-Tuk Association of Patong welcomed the task force action and suggested it also include Phuket's ''black'' tuk-tuks.

''The number of illegal taxis and tuk-tuks on Phuket continues to grow,'' said Sakon Srisompoch. ''There are at least 100 illegal tuk-tuks in the Patong district.

''I wonder what is the reason why Phuket Province authorities have never been able to sort this problem out? The question also remains - where do all the legal taxis and tuk-tuks park?''

Khun Sakon said he was hopeful that the police would see the process through and take control, ''not just for a few days.''

''In the past,'' he said, ''We have complained to Land Transport and the Governor several times. Nothing happened.

''Authorities on Phuket seldom use law enforcement. That's why Phuket has become like this.''

While it was too early to hope for dramatic change in the approach to taxis and tuk-tuks on Phuket, those who have proposed change have pointed out that Phuket needs a system where metred cabs and call centres end the rip-off where tourists and residents are forced to pay double.

The double payment covers the trip the passengers take and a second trip they don't take - as the driver returns to his rank.

This is because the whole Phuket system is based on a traditional arrangement where each village rank agreed to not pickup fares in areas controlled by neighboring village ranks.

Drivers wait at designated parking spots in the most desirable positions, especially in Patong and Kata-Karon.

The result in the 21st century: a system in shambles, where local drivers have adopted intimidatory tactics to create more jobs at higher fares.

Instead of parking and waiting, drivers should be circling the island, looking for passengers or waiting to be called to a job, at a realistic fare.

That refreshing alternative, for Phuket's taxi drivers to adopt new technology and work for a living, just like drivers do in Bangkok and other parts of the modern world, may be coming soon to Phuket - if the island's authorities have the courage not to compromise.

Comments

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Where do they park? Just look at rat-u-tit road at night, they park perpendicular to the curb and then more park parallel to the parked tuk tuks thus turning the road into one lane

Posted by Jerry on June 7, 2014 13:03

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Whats wrong with the baht bus system used in Pattaya. Set routes, ten baht each time you get off and the vehicles keep moving.
Got to say though that I am getting more and more hopeful that things will change for the better.
The military next should look at the 20 to 20 percent markup claim on all Thailand developement because of corruption.

Posted by Arthur on June 7, 2014 14:10

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Phuket is a large island with large blank spots, everyone needs to realize this and implement solutions which allow drivers to pickup anywhere anytime.

The secret to keeping fares low and allowing taxi's to make enough money to live on is dependent on keeping taxi's moving all the time and not going anywhere empty.

Therefore they MUST use the technology available to reach those ends.

As long as they continue to talk about dividing territory up etc. they'll never move.

As soon as they deploy metered taxis with GPS tracking (which tells whether a taxi is running with or without passengers), they can hire a company to analyze the data and come up with solutions.

And of course the GPS based systems will allow the drivers to pickup a lot more fares if their prices are reasonable (people at houses off the main road calling in for taxis etc.).

They need to peg fares at a rate low enough that demand increases.

And of course they need to provide all options for public transport and as a result there may be too many taxi drivers after bus services are restored.

Posted by dookiewin on June 12, 2014 01:30


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