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Phuket Governor Maitree Intusut talks to taxi drivers this week

Phuket Airport Must Bring Taxis Under Control, Says Adviser

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
News Analysis

PHUKET: The Governor of Phuket, Maitree Intusut, is being urged to press Airports of Thailand to solve its Phuket airport taxi mess.

Phuket Land Transport Office specialist Jaturong Keawkasi, who briefed the governor last night, said today that only AoT had the power to sort out the bickering and rivalries.

He also revealed that a bid is being made to increase the number of metered taxis at Phuket airport from 80 to 115, using a second company.

A non-metered taxi group, Mook Andaman, has been granted permission to add 25 taxis to each of the existing two airport taxi groups. However there's resistance from the existing groups.

''Mook Andaman drivers continue to be arrested at the airport's gates,'' Khun Jaturong said today. ''Yet I noticed a taxi operating at the airport yesterday from the Laguna rank.''

One of the existing group bosses also operates the Laguna rank.

''Why does Airports of Thailand fail to manage the taxis on its own premises?'' Khun Jaturong said. ''Why isn't AoT managing the business?''

It's common knowledge that all decisions about Phuket International Airport - no matter how insignificant - are made from Bangkok.

Taxi drivers mob passengers outside the terminal and even infiltrate the carousel area looking to hook a fare. Security appears to be ineffective.

Phuket's taxi drivers remain out of control. Outrageous fares severely diminish Phuket's appeal as a holiday destination.

The construction of Phuket's new international terminal may bring greater comfort but so far there have been no encouraging signs of Phuket's exhorbitant-fare taxi system being brought into the 21st century.

While Phuket airport's metered taxis often turn off their meters, the negotiated fares asked by drivers are usually lower than those demanded by the existing non-meter groups.

Metered-taxi drivers turn off their meters because running them delivers lower fares and lower income but at similar costs to the other taxi drivers.

Governor Maitree met with a deputation of drivers from Mook Andaman earlier in the day and undertook to look at the issue more thoroughly.

No progress has been made on establishing a low-cost hop-on hop-off bus service from Phuket International Airport to popular west coast destinations.

The taxi drivers of Kata-Karon don't like the idea and will blockade Phuket's streets to stop the buses, they say.

Comments

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It's revealing that the Governor doesn't even mention the bus service that's just sitting idle, waiting to be allowed to operate. I hope the operator has some connections in BKK and pulls the strings.

It's been 1,5 months since it was supposed to start, yet absolutely nothing has transpired.

As usual, once again the taxi and tuk-tuk mob win with the inconceivable support through the inaction of the authorities.

Despicable you.

Anthropologists would do well on Phuket. They'd have actual live subjects to study about tribal rule and law smack in the center of a busy 21st century city island.

Maybe TAT should use that for marketing. Come and see how backwards we can still be in this day and age.

Posted by Stephen on May 15, 2013 11:42

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And again the mob runs the place. Too sad to be true.

Posted by Resident on May 15, 2013 12:10

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Why cant they do it exactly as its done in Bangkok, if you want a limo you pay, outside metered taxis are lined up. The worst airport in the world is Phuket with its arrogant taxi drivers who are out of control, I hate arriving and dealing with these a---holes.

Posted by coxo on May 15, 2013 12:26

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Further more the groups of drivers that hang outside hotels intimidating tourists and claiming sole rights to these establishments, these guys are loitering, move them on!

Posted by coxo on May 15, 2013 12:30

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When Phuket governor, AOT and local administration will understand that most if not all tourists and rsidents in Phuket including Thais and expats want metered taxi only as in all international tourist destinations.
Not accepting the fact is supporting rogues clans extorting money from customers and tourists.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 15, 2013 12:33

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2 weeks ago I arrived at phuket airport at 1 AM. No need for a taxi as my wife came to pick me up. just out of curiosity I asked a few guys for their rate to Patong. 1500 Baht was the common answer.
Ridicolous !.

Posted by Oliver on May 15, 2013 16:53

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Why does Bangkok not just crush these taxi thugs end of story and put a strong willed leader in charge of this island for once because this seems like a case of deja vu and he'll hand the baton on to the next appeaser and we'll be seeing these same stories in 20 years.

Posted by Scunner on May 15, 2013 18:44

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Wasn't there a story not so long ago about the "success" of stopping this happening at the Airport.

As a journalist, you should put these comments to the story to the guy I just mentioned to see what his comeback is about what the Governor just said.

Lets get a discussion happening.

Posted by Tbs on May 15, 2013 21:47

Editor Comment:

As journalists, we do our own thinking and we have no shortage of issues to report. You may make your own calls and be as provocative as you wish.

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Everyone else has failed to control them or lacks the political inclination doubtul airport management will have any more success if even the govenor of Phuket says Airport problem to fix I can do nothing.

Posted by slickmelb on May 16, 2013 02:34

Editor Comment:

The Governor hasn't said that.


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