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Taxi drivers seek fares in a disorganised fashion at Phuket port

Phuket Port Taxi Chief Rejects Claim of $200 Fare Being Asked to Patong

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
PHUKET: Claims that a taxi driver at Phuket's deep sea port was asking $200 for a one-way trip to Patong have been disputed by the taxi drivers' association president.

Narong Kumbaan, President of the local taxi group, said: ''I have never heard of $200 being asked.''

The allegation that $200 was specified as the fare came from a Phuketwan reader who went to meet passengers off a cruise liner on Saturday and was dismayed by what he found.

The reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, sent this account:

''The gate was crowded with taxi drivers holding signs and at the same time asking people where they wanted to go. There was no order and many travellers were confused, especially those not getting a guided tour.

''For example questions like 'how much to the city?' 'How much to Patong?' 'Are the shops open now?' And many confused people re-entered the dock area where the taxi drivers were not allowed to enter.

''Some people asked questions and got no answer at all. They were ignored. One fellow told me that he was told it was too early for the shops so he decided not to go anywhere.

''The answers from the 'mob' were just as confusing, 'where do you want to go?' as if the passengers already knew where to go, but in fact didn't have a clue.

''And one answer as to the cost of going to Patong really floored me. '200 dollars' was quoted. A woman passenger seeing me at the front gate said, 'Are they joking?'''

Khun Narong said that the 160 taxis operating at Phuket's east coast deep sea port all had local drivers.

''When there's a US aircraft carrier in port, as there is now, we will call in other drivers, mostly from Phuket City,'' he said.

There were no standard fares at the Phuket dock so all deals for taxis were by negotiation, he said.

''Normally the fare is 1000 baht to Phuket City, 1500 baht to patong and 1800 baht to Kamala,'' he said.

Phuketwan's own records show the ''normal'' fare to Patong has not risen but the fare to Phuket City has doubled from 500 baht in 2011 to 1000 baht today.

Blockades by taxi drivers in 2011 saw the number of cruise passengers taking cabs rise from 10 percent to 40 percent.

The Phuketwan reader who visited on Saturday agreed that the port needed more controls to sort out the chaos.

''This area needs organising such that people can be given genuine information from legitimate government travel guides and also to arrange in proper order taxis at a reasonable price.

''The taxis should not have direct contact with any passenger prior to them becoming passengers, like the arrangement I have seen at Bangkok airport.''

Phuketwan has called for improvements to be made in the temporary handling facilities at the port and for the building of an enlarged port to be Phuket's prime marine priority - not the proposed ferry from the airport to Patong.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Only USD 200- low season prices must be kicking in!

Posted by Mister Ree on May 29, 2013 12:01

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Well written and informative. Thanks for reporting on this important story.

Posted by matt on May 29, 2013 12:06

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The first place to buy beer was charging 300 baht for a large bottle of Tiger! When I told the sailors that this was about 6 times the minimart price, the two girls selling it gave me a laser beam stink eye.

Phuketsub

Posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2013 12:10

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Suggestion: As so much adverse publicity has been generated over the last week or so, why not extend the EU Ambassadors meeting in June to an extra couple of days?

So many wrongs to be put right.

Posted by Pete on May 29, 2013 12:18

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There must be a name for this disease where Phuket citizens see the need to rip off short term tourists or visitors; something ending in -mania?

Posted by Logic on May 29, 2013 13:38

Editor Comment:

The short word is greed.

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looks like all the circling vultures are in on this charge what we like when a war ship is in town.

Posted by slickmelb on May 29, 2013 14:13

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in bali once we visited a temple, tour guide said it would be 2x 150 dollars, and that wouldnt be overpriced at all but normal the normal price, after laughing in his face he went down to 1x 5 dollars = still too much as I got told later

Posted by rebecca on May 29, 2013 14:30

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$200??? I believe it

Posted by sky on May 29, 2013 14:59

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You can't blame them for trying $200. If people are willing to pay that, then it's a fair price. Economics 101. Paragraph 1. Supply and Demand.

Posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2013 15:52

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'Phuket Port Taxi Chief Rejects Claim of $200 Fare Being Asked to Patong' - of course he would deny it; it is quite shameful.

From the picture posted, the tourists look as though they would rather be anywhere but in Phuket.

Posted by Logic on May 29, 2013 16:06

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The ports in Phuket are a disgrace, a shame for an island that wants to become an international luxury destination. I went there by myself several times and was surprised by the lack of infrastructure, organization and the rip-offs.

Huge potential though.

Posted by Jakub on May 29, 2013 16:35

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Since nowadays virtually every mobile phone has a video camera, I highly recommend every tourist to record their encounters on Phuket.

With video evidence there are no more ifs and buts about who said what and to whom.

Yesterday I spoke with our newest tenants, a Russian family. They had asked for the water bottle service for their water cooler.

Regular price is Bt 280 to purchase the clear plastic bottle and refill Bt 30.

When they asked the driver, he charged them Bt 3000 for the empty bottle. Fortunately I was able to intervene and the driver left furious and spewing threats at me.

The other day I was in a computer shop near Chalong circle and the staff were eating Naem. They offered some to me and it was very tasty so I asked where they bought it. At the market just around the corner so I went to buy some.

To my surprise I was charged Bt 20 a piece. I speak relatively fluent Thai so no chance of confusing me with a tourist. Not wanting to confront the vendor without evidence I said nothing and went back to the shop. They had paid Bt 10 a piece just 5 minutes earlier.

I did not go back to complain to the vendor but just told the surprised staff that this is what happens to foreigners on Phuket on a daily basis and almost everywhere. They expressed their sympathy and were genuinely unhappy about such practices. I've known them for perhaps 3 years.

I guess I will need to carry my small spy video camera with me activated everywhere I go from now on.

Posted by ThaiMike on May 29, 2013 17:42

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Khun Narong,
''Normally the fare is 1000 baht to Phuket City, 1500 baht to patong and 1800 baht to Kamala,'' he said.
And the fare from the airport is 800 bath. Am I missing something here.

Posted by Jens on May 29, 2013 17:53

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''Normally the fare is 1000 baht to Phuket City, 1500 baht to patong and 1800 baht to Kamala,'' he said.
And the fare from the airport is 800 bath. Am I missing something here.

Looks like, the fair from the airport needs some adjustment. Even the price from Central to Patong doesn't look right, these days. Right?

Posted by Scubadooooo on May 29, 2013 21:24


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