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The plan for Phuket taxis includes clear  identification markings

Taxi Fares Outrage Everyone Except Drivers

Monday, September 17, 2012
News Analysis

PHUKET: The new charter of taxi fares agreed recently by drivers on Phuket was given a large thumbs down by Phuket's honorary consuls at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City today.

Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha asked for the opinion of honorary consuls about the negotiated fares . . . and they gave it to him. And they provided their opinions unanimously and repeatedly.

Although the honorary consuls were polite, the fact is, Phuket's taxi fares are a continuing rip-off that denies all logic.

Catch a taxi from the Phuket International Airport to anywhere on the island and you will pay much less for the journey than you will have to pay to make the journey from anywhere on the island to Phuket airport.

Catch a metered taxi from the airport and you will pay almost half of what you pay in other taxis for the same journey.

The word ''mafia'' was slipped in by one or two honorary consuls. And there's no denying it's true. Phuket is still being held to ransom by its taxi drivers.

Unfortunately, the person who had to defend the new schedule was Teerayut Prasertpon, Phuket's Land Transport Department chief, who had tried harder than anyone to create a central taxi call centre system, which is what Phuket so clearly needs.

Every other destination has taxi drivers who respond to calls, service a large area, and are constantly picking up and dropping off passengers. Why not on Phuket?

The toothless tabloids may project this afternoon's event as an attack on Khun Teerayut but it was actually nothing of the kind: he and the honorary consuls are on the same side when it comes to reforming Phuket's present fares and the whole crazy Phuket system.

If the tourists who come to Phuket and the honorary consuls who represent them had a say in the Phuket taxi system, it would be radically reformed, and in a hurry.

But as both Khun Teerayut and Governor Tri pointed out today, they believe reforming Phuket's public transport can only come step by step - unless, of course, the national government wants to take over and do it their way quickly.

The Phuket system suits only the drivers. One village group will not countenance another village group picking up passengers in their territory.

So the poor passenger on Phuket has to pay twice the fare he or she would normally have to pay to cover the cost of the journey going, and also the journey coming back.

Khun Teerayut attempted to make the point that the drivers from the airport mostly use lpg whereas the rest are on petrol.

Well, that may be so but it's difficult to see how that could account for the massive difference in fares for precisely the same distance going from the airport and going to the airport.

Some of the honorary consuls suggested that the word ''mafia'' had something to do with it, although that word never emerged from the lips of the Thai-English translator at today's meeting.

The minutes of the meeting that are sent to Bangkok will probably project the gathering as a very friendly affair, which it certainly was.

But the honorary consuls - both expats and Thai - growled as a group today about the monopoly that Phuket's taxi drivers hold on a primitive system that remains an international disgrace.

Phuket's ''jobs for the boys'' system allows drivers without any qualifications or education to out-earn people with university degrees simply by driving once or twice a day from one part of Phuket to another, and back.

The present campaign of reforms may be creating a database, so that the drivers are registered and can be held a little more responsible.

But Phuket remains a holiday island held to ransom until the next Phuket governor or the national government brings about real reforms.

Until then, Phuket's taxi system will remain a laughing stock - unless you happen to be unfortunate enough to be on holiday there and have no other means of transport. Then only your driver will be laughing.

Sample Fares from the New Phuket Taxi Schedule


KARON AREA TAXIS AND TUK-TUKS

Karon to Patong: 400 baht
Karon to Phuket City: 550 baht
Karon to Phuket Airport: 1000 baht
Karon to Deep Sea Port: 700 baht
Karon to New Bus Station: 600 baht
Karon to Surin beach: 700 baht

KAMALA AREA TAXIS AND TUK-TUKS

Kamala to Patong: 400 baht
Kamala to Karon: 600 baht
Kamala to Rawai: 900 baht
Kamala to Phuket Airport: 700 baht
Kamala to Phuket City: 700 baht
Kamala to Cape Panwa: 900 baht

PATONG AREA TAXIS AND TUK-TUKS

Patong to Kamala: 400 baht
Patong to Karon: 400 baht
Patong to Kata: 500 baht
Patong to Phuket Airport: 800 baht
Patong to Laguna: 600 baht
Patong tp Cape Promthep: 700 baht

PHUKET AIRPORT TAXIS AND TUK-TUKS

Phuket Airport to Koh Sireh: 600 baht
Phuket Airport to Deep Sea Port: 750 baht
Phuket Airport to Chalong: 650 baht
Phuket Airport to Karon: 750 baht
Phuket Airport to Surin: 550 baht
Phuket Airport to Kamala: 600 baht

RAWAI AREA TAXIS AND TUK-TUKS

Rawai to Deep Sea Port: 750 baht
Rawai to Cape Panwa: 800 baht
Rawai to Chalong Bay: 350 baht
Rawai to Kata: 400 baht
Rawai to Patong: 700 baht
Rawai to Surin: 900 baht
Rawai to Phuket Airport: 1000 baht
Rawai to Phuket City: 500 baht
Rawai to New bus Station: 600 baht

A check on the board at a Surin beach taxi and tuk-tuk rank - not part of the latest agreement - showed the following fares:

SURIN AREA TAXIS AND TUK-TUKS

Surin to Phuket Airport: 700 baht
Surin to Kamala: 300 baht
Surin to JW Marriott: 900 baht
Surin to FantaSea (Kamala): 300 baht
Surin to Laguna: 400 baht
Surin to Mission Hills: 700 baht
Surin to Karon: 700 baht
Surin to Kata: 800 baht
Surin to Phuket City: 600 baht
Surin to Cape Promthep: 1200 baht
Surin to Cape Panwa: 1100 baht
Surin to Khao Lak: 2500 baht
Surin to Krabi: 3500 baht

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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This really is a joke. In Bangkok this weekend, you can have a taxi all day with a driver for 1200 Baht. The plain truth is there is no desire in Phuket to stop this extortion. The honest business people will be the ones that suffer in the long run, as more and more tourists avoid Phuket and its rip offs. Things need changing and quickly, cosy reforms that suit only the "criminal elements" are nothing short of pathetic!!!!

Posted by unbelievable on September 17, 2012 21:30

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I caught a supposed meter taxi from Phuket airport on Sunday night , when i went to the metered taxi office i was told its 600 baht to Patong , when i got in the cab the meter was covered all the time , last time i caught i metered taxi , the fare to Patong was 280 baht that time the meter was used , its a compleate rip off , why the hell have metered taxis if they dont use the meter ??

Posted by Pete on September 17, 2012 22:55

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To me it's more than obvious that officials don't have any interest in changing the situation, again cash talks. Unfortunately, the only force people have at this moment is, not to use any taxi or tuk tuk.

Posted by Resident on September 18, 2012 05:16

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This is a disgrace. If fares were cheaper more tourist and locals would visit more areas on the island and in turn spend dollars in these areas. These fares are totally over the top however i cannot see it changing. Cheers.

Posted by chaseone on September 18, 2012 06:33

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I took a "metered" taxi twice from the airport this year, and the meter was not even covered, it was ripped out of the taxi! Asking about prices they wanted from 450-600 Bath for the trip to Patong. Someone I met wanted to share a cab with me but one of the drivers told me it was not allowed, we asked by who and he pointed towards the rip-off guys in the other "taxi" area!

@chaseone, you're right; a lot of people don't leave their hotel areas. I've been to Patong for 8 weeks this year and only a few times I left the area, a few visits to Kata and a needed visit to the immigration. So many places I like to go on Phuket, but when travelling alone going with taxi just is to expensive...

I like a lot of things in Phuket, but the transportation ruins it and next year I guess I will stay in Phuket for a short while on my trips.

The taxis are no good for business in Phuket and a lot of the nice locals will suffer because of the way they behave.

Posted by tdr on September 18, 2012 08:30

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(moderated)

Posted by Media Watcher on September 18, 2012 09:20

Editor Comment:

PHUKETWAN recently altered its policy on the posting of Comments and now bans whingers, whiners, do-nothings, dingbats, doomsayers, carpers, harpers and kooks. This list may grow with time. Constructive ideas and new pieces of information remain welcome.

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I have said in the past that while visiting Pattaya I saw lots of brand new taxis when I asked how much they charge (meter) I was told they do not have meters even though they have all the looks (signs ETC) of a metered taxi the fees were about the same as in Phuket so this problem seams to be an issue where tourists can be taken for all you can get. Government must make the rules and stick to them (especially where tourist travel). I am still waiting for the local government to help the tourists get from the new Bus station to the city market so they can catch a local bus and not get ripped off when they first arrive by bus to Phuket City.

Posted by mike on September 18, 2012 10:25

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@ Mike you can get the free Pink Buses from the new bus station to the old bus station, where the local buses now operate from. Just toddle down to the road and they pass quite regularly during the day.

Posted by Mister Ree on September 18, 2012 12:58

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These rates are just crazy. If they would just cut out half of the taxi drivers (not give them a license and actually check on licenses, with heavy fines), then the other half can work for reasonable rates and drive all day long, instead of a single trip in two days.
That said, I love the tuktuk's in Phuket Town. Old men driving all day long, asking like 20 baht per person to get through the town, picking up several customers on the way. Unfortunately, there are less and less of them.

Posted by Tinkerbell on September 18, 2012 13:21

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Mr Ree sorry the Buses still Q at the Market not the old bus station and the Pink bus costs a modest 10baht. So new arriving guests have no idea how to connect when they get to the old bus station.

Posted by mike on September 18, 2012 22:13

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Well, these rates didn't seem to outrage the local authorities either since they happily put their official seal on them and elevated the ripoff to official policy status on Phuket.

Posted by Andrew on September 19, 2012 07:47

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Phuket ppl here, I don't mind the taxi charge - its not like we ever use them anyway. They are for tourist and for a holiday destination, the price is reasonable.

500B? thats like 15 bucks. I pay 2x the amount in US and even Singapore. Its supply-demand market, if you are not happy, don't pay for it. If enough people do that, they might lower the fare.

Well, 2 tew from Phuket town to Patong,Karon cost 30B. There are plenty of 2 tew around. If you are living in Phuket, don't complain and use those.

Posted by ddddd on September 19, 2012 10:38

Editor Comment:

Phuket needs a proper transport system with taxis operating out of call centres and picking up passengers all over the island - at a cost locals can afford, ddddd. It also needs a 24-hour public transport system to save the lives of those who have no choice except to ride dangerous motorcycles. As the island grows, the need for change also grows. Your version of island life is not sustainable and short-sighted. Are you a taxi driver?

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I don't think the taxis are expensive. If you can't afford them, don't use them. Like everything else in life!

Posted by Damien on September 19, 2012 11:32

Editor Comment:

Any taxi service that makes you pay for a return journey you don't take is twice as expensive as it should be, Damien. Simple enough for you?

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@ ddddd and Damien; The buses mentioned do not operate after nightfall, and there is no bus system between Kata/Karon and Patong because the last time that was attempted, the driver was pulled from his bus and beaten by "compitition."

The problem goes way beyond just the extortionate fares. The extortionate fares allows for a far greater number than needed. 3 or 4 times the number needed according to one official. These extra tuk tuks and taxi's clog up traffic or sit idle taking up most of the good parking spaces in the beach areas, and when a tourist does park in one of their self proclaimed spots, threats, vandalism and violence often ensue. Thai people obviously don't use them, but are forced to ride motorbikes, a very dangerous mode of transportation, especially when you have to compete with the crazy taxi drivers.

Posted by NomadJoe on September 19, 2012 18:59

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Last time I arrived at HKT I took the official Minibus [counter in Airport] to Patong. Door-to-door 115 Bt. I was the last one to be delivered in Patong. 70 Minutes. So: comfortable, reasonable fast, inexpensive. I will do it again in October!

Posted by Aachen on September 20, 2012 17:26

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If you really want to know just how outrageous these fares are look up the new Don Muang Guide and click onto Transportation.

Posted by Muffler on October 3, 2012 08:44

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Transport to/from Don Muang Airport
by taxi (approx):
Suvarnabhumi Airport THB 350
Central Bangkok (Siam Area) THB 200
Silom (South) THB 220
Sanam Luang (Grand Palace) THB 220
Phra Khanong (Sukhumvit) THB 220
Hua Lamphong (Bangkok Railway Station) THB 210
Go figure....

Posted by Andy on October 3, 2012 09:20

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To me, the main difference between BKK and HKT is that taxis in BKK are company-run entities and HKT taxis are mafia-run entities. I met a nice taxi driver once in Phuket and spoke Thai with him a bit... After getting to know me, he confessed that 70% of his earnings goes to the "owner" of the car. When he charges 1,000 THB, he basically only gets THB 300... Endless discussions on "This should stop asap", but I tell you it won't as far as some people gets 70% of the cut.

Posted by SMC on October 3, 2012 11:46

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Posted by Michael on June 1, 2015 06:35


Wednesday April 24, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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