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New meter taxi fares are agreed from Phuket International Airport

Phuket to Adopt Taxi Meters, Call Centres

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
PHUKET: A scale of fares has been chosen as Phuket moves towards adopting meters in all the islands taxis, a meeting heard yesterday.

Four hundred green-plated taxis are to be the first to be converted to metered fares, Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada said.

In anticipation of the move, Phuket's taxi drivers were last month given the option of three different scales of fares. They selected one that gave them a 52 percent fare increase.

It is said that there has been no increase in the meter rates since the metered cabs were introduced on Phuket about 10 years ago.

One taxi spokesperson, Sabu Boonprasob, 52, of the Phuket Taxi Cooperative, told the gathering at Phuket Provinicial Hall in Phuket City yesterday that the fares remained too low for a change from green plates and their high fares scale to meters.

''Some drivers have only one customer a day,'' he said. ''They have to pay for children to go to school, petrol and all the other costs of living and supporting a family.''

Sarayuth Mallam, Vice President of the Phuket Tourist Association, responded: ''When you have good business in high season, nobody complains. Nobody forced you to become a taxi driver.

''Every occupation on Phuket carries a risk. You simply have to improve the quality of the service.''

Meters were the international standard, the drivers' representatives were told, and Phuket was compelled to provide an international service.

Tourists were now saying: ''You must solve these problems. We want more taxis converted to meters.''

For decades, Phuket's village-based monopoly system has encouraged more drivers to take up the work and charged tourists higher and higher fares to compensated for the unsustainable equation.

Taxis and tuk-tuks continue to monopolise precious parking space in Patong and Karon especially, with thuggish responses at times to those who dare invade ''their space.''

The biggest rip-off is the double fare that tourists pay so that drivers can return to base, without picking up a passenger.

It's clear that the only answer is for Phuket to have fewer taxis, working harder.

Phuket Land Transport Department specialist Jaturong Keawkasisaid raised that prospect again yesterday by telling the meeting that a call centre would enable taxis to pick up customers all over Phuket.

Those who called to have a taxi pick them up from home would pay a 50 baht surcharge, he told the meeting. The same surcharge would apply to calls made from Phuket's bus stations or the deep sea port, he added.

A service charge of 100 baht would be applied to taxis picking up customers from Phuket International Airport between midnight and 5am.

He said the new rates would be introduced ''in two or three months.''

With a flagfall fee of 100 baht, the new rates would be airport to Chalong, 506 baht, City 476 baht, Patong 636 baht, Karon 686 baht, Laguna 356 baht, Cape Panwa, 576 baht and Rawai 566 baht. (see attached image for details)

The adoption of a new rate for metered taxis is seen as the latest in a series of incrimental moves aimed at reforming Phuket's taxi and tuk-tuk services over an unspecified period of time.

Department of Special Investigation officers working with local police are expected to crack down on the most thuggish of Phuket's tuk-tuk and taxi queues any day now.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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What does a taxi passenger do when the driver refuses to turn on the meter?

Posted by gee on September 25, 2013 13:33

Editor Comment:

find another cab.

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I cannot wait to see the new official table of metered taxi rates.

My next visit to Thailand excludes Phuket until the dust settles & my family & I see what emerges. Phuket could price itself off the tourist map!

Posted by Logic on September 25, 2013 13:46

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"Find another cab"

Agreed, but, what do you do at the airport when the meter stand lady (not the driver) tells you to pay the driver 1,000 baht to patong with a dropoff in Kathu (1-2km detour), far more than the meter read which was running. This happened to me on sunday. I want to support the metered system, it should be the way forward, but there was no negotiation.

Posted by Ant on September 25, 2013 14:46

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At the new taximeter rates, the fare for the 6km between Karon and Patong will be 98 baht. The current fare displayed on the fare chart at every 'TK' taxi encampment is 400 baht.

Does anyone seriously think that the m**** will adopt such a rate?

Perhaps meters will only be used on trips from the airport. Chaos will continue on all other trips.

Another issue is which '400' of the 5,000+ assorted black, white, green and yellow-plated taxis will fit meters. How will passengers identify them?

Does the Land Transport Dept realise that taximeters have to be calibrated and sealed and checked frequently, and that they (LTD) are responsible for ensuring that meters are used and not interfered with? Do they have resources for this? (No)

Posted by Jason on September 25, 2013 15:04

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Who is going to take care of illegal taxis that block the roads for the pick-ups?

Posted by Jakub on September 25, 2013 15:48

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Still one big JOKE !
Bangk prices, then a Taxi from airport to Patong cost 200 Baht.
So still more then 3 times what they can do it for an Bangkok.

Posted by karsten on September 25, 2013 17:03

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I took a metered taxi last week from the airport to Rawai at 8:00pm on a Saturday. Total cost with the meter running including 100 baht flagfall fee was 800 Baht. Cheaper than the same trip I made a month earlier when the total was 950 with the meter running.

Hope that they put something in place to validate the integrity of the meters, or I may be in for a shock should they increase fares by 52 percent over my recent 800-950 experiences.

Posted by Treelover on September 25, 2013 17:05

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Fares WILL BE?
They have been this new rate for months already!!!!

Posted by John on September 25, 2013 18:49

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I have come through Phuket Airport twice in the last month. On both occasions, the "meter lady" refused to give me a ticket, the driver insisted no meter and both times I was asked for up front payment around the corner to get LPG to continue the journey home!
I have lived in Phuket long enough to know it is unwise to get into an argument as it can turn quickly violent and at the end of the day I just wanted to get home.
I am sorry to say, but whilst the intentions may be good, in reality nothing is changing.

Posted by Richard on September 25, 2013 19:04

Editor Comment:

Overnight change is not likely, Richard. The meter taxis stopped turning on the meters because they were losing out to the non-metered taxis when it comes to fares. To expect a thoroughly screwed system to be healed by the day after tomorrow would be foolish.

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"Some drivers have only one customer a day,.." -- Sound like there are way to many drivers. Besides, that there are way to many 'Taxis'. In a 'normal' world, the market would regulate this itself. But in the Thai World, the price has to rise.
Now they gettin' 3times the money, a Bangkok cab would get, right?
Who made up the idea, to legalize all black taxis, instead of 'inmate' them?

Posted by ????????????????????????????? on September 25, 2013 21:43

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This prices totaly are not correct.
Editor can you not make this trip undercover.
I will pay the cost, like above under 800 bath you can"t arrive in Rawai whit meter.

Posted by nero on September 25, 2013 21:48

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Untill two months ago. I paid 500 baht from Airport to Patong and from Patong to airport. The meter would be 450 baht but I agreed on a flat fee. I have a friend who drives a meter taxi and we had a 500 baht deal. Than two months ago he picked me up in Patong to bring to the airport and insisted on the meter. The meter stopped at the airport at almost 700 baht. That was a 40% increase two montsh ago. Than last months I took a meter taxi to Kathu from the airport. I had to pay 100 baht at the kiosk and they said meter. It was 765 for Kathu, nut would have been 950. So that is a 100% increase compared to my 500 baht deal I had for two years. I was Always happy but not anymore. So what are my options. I canb take mini van to Patong for 180 baht or the bus that stops behind Jungceylon for 130 baht. I think there is a better solution. In my neigbourhood and around I have a few friends. We bring each other to the airport and pick up for 500 baht. This week I bring my neighbour and maybe in two weeks he brings me. Same with pick ups. I am so sick and tired of this Phuket Maffia or Kartel organisation. I suggest everybody start to organise their own transportation among friends. Standard fee 500 baht. This week I drive you nad in two or three weeks you drive me. Nomore illegal taxis, yellow legal or meter Taxi anymore, because they are all overcharging and exceptional greedy.

Posted by TAK on September 25, 2013 22:32

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If they refuse to put the meter on, what number can we call and complain?

didnt the DSI setup a english speaking line at the airport?

Posted by JO on September 25, 2013 22:51

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Booked a cab today from around Chalong to airport :700 THB. More than a night in a local guest-house with a/c and breakfast.

Posted by william on September 25, 2013 23:15

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I repeat, and stupid Ed will not show my comment: A Taxi ride with meter from Suvarnaboomboom Airport to my humble abode in Bangkok Suan Luang, 16 km. - is app. 160 THB.

Posted by Alex on September 26, 2013 01:35

Editor Comment:

Is there something you are trying to say, alex? If so, please skip the bad language.

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Meter or not, these prices are a disgusting rip off for tourists and locals alike. Just came back from Bangkok where I paid 160 THB for almost 20 km - a very fair deal. Never ever I will use a Taxi or Tuk Tuk on Phuket and just can encourage everybody to do the same.

Posted by Resident on September 26, 2013 06:46

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Why are these people not using Bangkok rates? These rates are over inflated.

http://www.taxiautofare.com/th/taxi-fare-card/Bangkok-Taxi-fare

What is the excuse for being so much higher?

Posted by Tbs on September 26, 2013 08:21

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There are many, too many taxis.
Must be eliminated or send work elsewhere.
The prices are excessive under the pretext of feeding excess taxis. It is a fool's game for all taxi users.
It's the same with all tuktuks who do not work because they are too expensive and far too many.
Sorry, there should not be allowed as much tuktuks and taxis. Harsh measures are to be taken forward.
That we practice the same price as Bangkok or elsewhere in Thailand!
Too many things are too expensive to Phuket and lack of services: one gas station in Patong, one supermarket, no competition, the most expensive in Thailand McDonald's, why, why?

Posted by phil on September 26, 2013 08:49

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Don't see any of this working. The whole system has been viewed solely from one point of view - the Taxi. No consideration is given to the user - the customer (Thai or tourist). Hopefully the customers will act with their feet.

Posted by Duncan on September 26, 2013 10:09

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I used to take the taxi-meter for 2 years. It has always been 450THB to Patong. Two weeks ago, I was surprise by the meter that show 650THB + 100THB paid at the counter...
I think it doesn t go in the right way...it s still 3 times more expensive than in Bangkok.

Posted by Fabien on September 26, 2013 13:24

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"Don't see any of this working. The whole system has been viewed solely from one point of view - the Taxi. No consideration is given to the user - the customer (Thai or tourist)."

So a metertaxi, eliminating ripoffs and negotiations, is not in the interest of the user? Sorry, I really don't understand this.

Still some way to go, but the path set out is clear and every so often steps are taken in the right direction.

Posted by stevenl on September 26, 2013 13:59

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Editor, the only change that I have seen of the last several months, is that the meter fare from airport to Patong has gone from ~430 THB to ~750 THB, witnessed and paid by myself. Change is underway, but in the wrong direction.

Posted by geoff on September 28, 2013 07:42

Editor Comment:

Most self-interested people are only interested in the fares, geoff. Like the drivers themselves, money is an obsession. Some of us would like to see the drownings end, the thuggery and scams stopped, the roads made safer. Then we will worry about the money. Change is more than what you get back from a tuk-tuk driver.

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The meter fare lady at the airport has always quoted me a 450 baht price to Patong the last 4 years. Plus tip. I guess now it will be 650, not sure? Never understood why people use the taxi touts at the front door.

Posted by Tuna on September 29, 2013 16:37

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Wonder how much the huge influx of Chinese tourists and corresponding pressure through official channels has to do with this, which can only be described as signficant step. The Chinese take care of their own.... Still believe it when it happens.

Posted by shanghai on October 5, 2013 10:02


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