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News to me: Ket tuk-tuk and taxi club adviser Porntep Chamkawn

What Buses, Says Taxi, Tuk-Tuk Adviser

Sunday, March 24, 2013
PHUKET: A key adviser with the Karon-Kata Taxi Club said yesterday he hadn't heard about plans for a public bus to run from Phuket International Airport to Phuket's west coast destinations.

Porntep Chamkawn, a former president of the club and now a consultant, said: ''I can't say Yes or No to any proposal because I've heard nothing about the buses.''

A plan to introduce the buses from Friday was delayed until greater awareness of public reaction to the buses becomes evident.

''Rumors of protests'' were among the reasons why Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada opted to hold another meeting on May 15 to consider the project's formal approval.

''If this [Phuket airport buses] happened, we would need to know how long the buses were going to stop and exactly what they have in mind,'' Khun Porntep said. ''Of course it would affect the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers.''

He said there were about 500 drivers in the kata-Karon area. The drivers occupy precious parking space at about 50 ranks in the region, south of Patong.

A suggestion that a central radio-controlled call centre would clear space for traffic and be fairer to all was rejected by the drivers last year.

''I will bring this issue up with the president of the club and with the Mayor of Kata-Karon next week,'' Khun Porntep said.

A series of public meetings is likely to follow the campaign by the Phuket Land Transport Department to offer Phuket residents and tourists a safe and reasonably priced transport alternative.

The low-cost hop-on, hop-off buses would allow Phuket to match other Thai tourism centres and rival destinations overseas. Dates for the public meetings have yet to be announced.

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Doomplayers, jump off the boat...its a joke how this matter his handled!

Posted by Jeff on March 24, 2013 12:49

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Why authorities should ask something, start and run the bus service as announced period. Porntep Chamkawn, taxis & tuk tuk have nothing to say.

Posted by jean-paul patrick on March 24, 2013 13:09

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You would where he has been living for the last few months - Id also suggest a new consultant might be necessary too.

Posted by Ciaran on March 24, 2013 13:12

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A fleet of escorted, armoured military buses might do the job, until the taxi and tuk-tuk mafia are finally driven off the island. I really can't see anything else ever succeeding, because the roots of the problem go far too deep.

Posted by agogohome on March 24, 2013 14:52

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And it's really unusual that a top authority like a Phuket Vice-Governor, ask to tuk-tuk and taxi drivers, if they agree with the plan of the Bus Public Transport!?! Who are the Authorities on Phuket, the Governors or the tuk-tuk and taxi mafia?

Posted by Mino on March 24, 2013 15:15

Editor Comment:

Strategic engagement with all stakeholders is simply good management. To start a bus line without asking taxi drivers what they think would be unacceptable anywhere. There may even be an active participatory education process required.

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(moderated)

Posted by Jeremy on March 24, 2013 17:25

Editor Comment:

We have no interest, jeremy, in your negative perspective. If you wish to mix cliches, go somewhere else.

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Keep pushing back the start up date for the buses, that way it will be the low season and the company may go belly up trying to start in the low season...This is a a joke, hope BKK is watching.

Posted by 8YearsInTh on March 24, 2013 18:36

Editor Comment:

If you've waited eight years for a bus service on Phuket you can wait eight more weeks, 8YearsInTh. Or have you been waiting at a bus stop the whole eight years?

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Ed, it seems you agree with the idea to ask tuk-tuk and taxi drivers their permission to put on work the Bus Public Transport on Phuket. Do you usually keep your feet in both camps?

Posted by Mino on March 24, 2013 21:58

Editor Comment:

It's standard practice everywhere to inform stakeholders of major changes in their lives, Mino. We agree with that. Some expat non-stakeholders appear to be drooling at the possibility of violence. We advocate talk, not war.
Your belligerence shows in your other hasty comment on this issue:

''Ed, why don't you publish the entire comment, but you cut them as you pleased? How can you dare to do like that? Is it you kind of democracy to modify the opinions of the commenters?
Who do you think you are? If you don't accept objections, change your job.''

This is not a democracy. It's a comment section for those who have something positive to say. Name-calling advocates of violence are not wanted.

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how quaint the taxi thug union call themselves a club, 500 + the rest is a obvious over supply for the market in kata & karon they reject radio control they will reject buses they reject any changes whatsoever.

Posted by slickmelb on March 24, 2013 21:58

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Oh yeah..everything has to go through the tuk tuk union first before any changes in anything in Phuket can be approved or not

Posted by sky on March 25, 2013 09:22

Editor Comment:

What a load of lies, sky. Are you high?

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I ask anyone out there .....is what I'm saying true or not

Posted by sky on March 25, 2013 10:10

Editor Comment:

Total BS, sky. You make this stuff up, don't you? Do you ever leave Patong, sky?

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Ed., You state: "Strategic engagement with all stakeholders is simply good management."

True, but such good faith needs to be demonstrated by both sides of this issue in order for any real negotiable solution to be reached. There needs to be a 'give and take' here. And I think we've seen over the years that the transport people have no interest in negotiating anything in good faith, or changing anything. Unless that change involves increasing their fares.

Slickmelb is correct. They will abjectly reject any changes whatsoever. They have never shown they are willing to consider serious negotiations or compromise. They are, invariably, all take and no give.

Posted by Relox on March 25, 2013 10:53

Editor Comment:

How do you know, Relox? This is the first time this century that a public bus service has been proposed.You and slickmelb have, to my certain knowledge, yet to be involved in the discussions. Your information is, as usual, based on idle hearsay and uninformed guesswork. Your comment adds nothing except your own personal doom-laden outlook. Sad, really.

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The reality will kick in again, as it does so often here on this little third world island. My daughter will have to take the motorbike to go to the university and risk life and limp with the thousands of crazy drivers every day. So sad.

Posted by Charles on March 25, 2013 11:58

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Editor Comment:

"How do you know, Relox? This is the first time this century that a public bus service has been proposed.You and slickmelb have, to my certain knowledge, yet to be involved in the discussions. Your information is, as usual, based on idle hearsay and uninformed guesswork. Your comment adds nothing except your own personal doom-laden outlook. Sad, really."


I know what I've seen over the years here, Ed. There has been lots of talk of change, but no changes. My opinions are based on that personal observation, along with reports from local news & info sources, PW included.

Is all of that idle hearsay and uninformed guesswork? I'd like to think not, but you would be in closer touch with that than I am.

It is a bit of an exaggeration to interpret my hope-laden frustration as a doom-laden outlook. My rose-tinted specs are still firmly in place.

Posted by Relox on March 25, 2013 13:26

Editor Comment:

So many expat experts with no real knowledge of how Phuket functions are content to base their judgements on hearsay and guesswork. There were doomsayers in South Africa before apartheid ended, and in Berlin right up until the wall fell. Those doomsayers are probably still wandering around saying ''It will never happen, it will never happen.'' But it did. And it will.

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Excuse me, but how can a so-called consultant deny knowledge of this proposed service? Everyone's known for months & I'm sure his 'colleagues' wouldn't have been talking about much else...he shd retire now if true!

Posted by Anonymous on March 25, 2013 13:32

Editor Comment:

I would interpret the comments like this: ''All we've heard are the rumors. We need to be told officially what's going on. We want to be involved.''

The message is plain.

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It is common practice for public to participate in changes. In South Africa Treade Unions protect the rights of the people. Unfortunately it seems as if the Phuket bus issue, which is a very good suggestion for the tourist trade, is being manipulated by a handful of "undermining" individuals that only think about their own pockets. Phuket is not only for the tourists, there are a vast amount of local people that will benefit as well. The better facilities (i.e. Beach route buses) for tourists the more foreign currency will be ploughed into the area instead of into the pocket of a handfull of tuk-tuk drivers or their "behind the scene" controlling bodies.

Yes the tuk-tuk fares are exorbitant compared to other island destinations, but I still love Phuket and its people. I do hope a mid-way will be found that will be to the benefit of all.

Posted by Jacques on March 25, 2013 13:54

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I have never heard of any place in the world where taxi drivers have to be asked about the startup of a busline from an airport.
If you can give me just one example I will stand corrected - but I sincerely doubt it.

Posted by Remarkable on March 25, 2013 13:55

Editor Comment:

The public meetings will most likely be for all who wish to attend and that goes especially for residents who will be affected by the change. It may surprise you to learn, Remarkable, that tuk-tuk drivers are residents, and they will be affected by the change. I'll let you keep searching for more precise precedents. But who cares?

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Yes I leave Phuket...and would bet its many more times than you over the course of a year...and also willing to bet that I have been here much longer than you as well....as an editor of an internet publication that is no doubt, carefully monitored by gov't eyes, its obvious that you have to be careful what you print....Many of us know the game Ed...and I often wonder that if you really could exercise your right to free speech...what your true stand would be on many of your writings as opposed to just being a puppet to keep your work permit extended year after year

Posted by sky on March 25, 2013 16:29

Editor Comment:

sky, you left your brains on a beach somewhere, Go back, get them, and try all over again. You've just proved that your comments are worthless.

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ED with the reference to the 2 million doomsayers.most of that doom came true when the so called might of the South African National Defence Force got its pathetic little arse seriously kicked by a bunch of rebels in the Central African Republic. The SA doomsayers have been saying for a while the SANDF is useless, well seems they were right.
The doomsayets here are not so stupid, as not to see who rules the roost here.
If the truth cant be told, just don't say anything.

Posted by Graham on March 25, 2013 17:35

Editor Comment:

I was talking about apartheid, graham. I have only the vaguest idea what you are talking about, but it's probably wildly off the topic again. The doomsayers here are like doomsayers everywhere: close-minded and ill-informed.

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I am surprised that most comments always seem to come from expats. As a long term expat, I would have thought that most people who live here would have their own transport so why is everyone so intent on "slagging off" the local taxi services? Has anyone actually stopped to think that the cost of gasoline, insurance, maintenance etc has increased by over 100% in recent years, in line with taxi fair increases? Has anyone stopped to think that the drivers also have to pay the inflated prices that are common in Phuket now? Like anyone, they are just making a living. They are referred to as "thugs" "mafia" etc...have you actually seen the abuse and disrespect they have to put up with when dealing with the typical drunken tourist in Patong? OK, so they try to "rip off" the odd tourist, well what business doesn't? Next time I buy a lady drink and pay B200 for an orange juice should I say they are "thugs" and "mafia"?
I agree with the Editor, it makes good sense to discuss and AGREE on any proposals BEFORE the new service is introduced, if at all.

Posted by Richard on March 25, 2013 18:00

Editor Comment:

Well, the new alternative bus service is certainly needed. It's only a question of how long it takes before being implemented. The next step after that will be for tuk-tuk drivers and taxi drivers to reduce their fares by half - the return trip that passengers pay for without actually taking. Then the island will have a taxi and tuk-tuk service that is reasonably priced.

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#Richard: - Next time I buy a lady drink and pay B200 for an orange juice should I say they are "thugs" and "mafia"? Naah - just say you are looking to widen the circle of your new friends - thugs and mafia are trouble. Best stay safe!

Posted by Pete on March 25, 2013 20:11

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wait to he hears about the proposed tram and monorail service (just kidding im allowed to dream).

Posted by slickmelb on April 10, 2013 20:53


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