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People take the shuttle and leave the motorcycle taxi riders behind

Phuket Taxi Riders Lose Customers to Cheap Public Transport at Bus Terminus

Monday, April 23, 2012
PHUKET: Motorcycle taxi riders at Phuket's new bus terminal are disgruntled at the low number of passengers and their discontent is aimed at the rival public pink bus shuttle to Phuket Town.

The motorcycle taxi riders ask 80 baht for the trip from the new terminal in Thepkasattri Road, near SuperCheap, to the old bus terminal in Phang Nga Road.

But the fare on the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation shuttle bus, which runs every 15 minutes, is just 10 baht.

No taxis are operating from the new terminus because the Phuket Transport Department is insisting that the illegal taxis that operated from the old terminal become legal taxis before they are permitted to move.

''We are running the new terminus and we intend to make sure all the forms of transport here are legal,'' said Phuket Transport Deputy Director Wanta Pumararoskon.

The new bus terminus opened on Saturday after an 18-month delay over a controversial u-turn in Phuket's main highway.

Arriving buses are greeted with a message telling passengers that they have the alternative of travelling on to Phuket Town or around Phuket via taxi, tuk-tuk, motorcycle or public bus.

Passengers are told they can purchase a voucher for all forms of transport at a one-stop counter. Comparative fares are on display at the counter.

Authorities are likely to take up Phuketwan's suggestion that so many expat tourists are already using the bus service that the broadcast notification should be in English as well as Thai.

So far it appears that overseas tourists, usually travelling in twos or threes, are content to catch a tuk-tuk to Phuket Town or elsewhere.

However, given the choice of an 80 baht motorcycle ride per person, individual Thais or Thais travelling in groups are mostly opting for the pink bus.

Ninety motorcycle taxi riders transferred to the new terminal from the old terminal, and the plan was to add 30 more local riders from the Rassada district. However, the number of trips a day appear to be too low to support 120 riders.

Sample fares for taxis - when they arrive - are Phuket Town 200 baht, Cape Panwa 400 baht, Chalong 350 baht, Rawai 500 baht, Nai Harn, 550 baht, Kata 500 baht, Karon 600 baht, Patong 450 baht, Surin 600 baht, Airport 500 baht, JW Marriott 800 baht.

For a motorcycle taxi, sample fares include Phuket Town 80 baht, Koh Sireh 150 baht, Chalong Temple 180 baht, Rawai 300 baht and Patong 300 baht.

Disgruntled individuals have been told by Phuket Transport officials that they must form a committee and talk to officials through a spokesperson rather than lodge complaints one at a time.

The shuttle bus service carries passengers from the new terminus, which is now the end of the line for all buses arriving from Bangkok and other provinces, to the old terminus, which is now the connection point for all bus services across Phuket.

The shuttle stops at 10pm when buses arriving from Bangkok and other provinces go direct to the old terminus in Phuket Town.

Comments

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Most of the taxis will stay at the airport because there yesterday the "set fixed price" of 500 baht to my area was being offered at a "special price" outside the terminal of 1,200 :-o
The luxury fully air-conditioned Airport Bus won again at 90 baht !!!

Posted by Amazed in Thailand on April 23, 2012 12:46

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Oh oh I smell another road block protest coming along.

Posted by Graham on April 23, 2012 16:07

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Who wants to pay 80 baht (More than what this trip would cost in an airconditioned taxi in BKK by the way) to sit on an insanely dangerous motorbike taxi?

Posted by christian on April 23, 2012 16:49

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Excellent, I hope the authorities stick to their guns.

Posted by stevenl on April 23, 2012 17:07

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@stevenl: there will be a change of authority after the first three months to the locals.

Posted by Lena on April 23, 2012 17:44

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Well done all at phuket transport department, don't let these people and their seedy backers intimidate you into changing the prices, keep up the good work.

Posted by Scunner on April 23, 2012 18:21

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what a positive story but the true fact is what sensible tourist will opt for a ride with a kamikaze pilot and where will they place any luggage.

Posted by traveller on April 23, 2012 21:22

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It would be a 20 baht motorcycle ride in Trang and Had Yai. 80 baht is a rip off.

Posted by Anonymous on April 23, 2012 22:24

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Obviously overseas tourists use tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis because they don't understand the alternative, and are probably leapt on as soon as they leave the safety of the bus. I agree with Phuketwan; any announcements or notices should be in Thai AND English.

Posted by agogohome on April 24, 2012 10:56

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It is classic Phuket - too much of everything! As soon as someone sees another doing well, it is copy, copy copy until there is no profit for anyone to make a meaningful living. Anyway, as most will agree, motor bike taxis are dangerous, usually decrepit with bald tires & dodgy brakes.

Posted by Logic on April 25, 2012 14:02

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I recently returned to Phuket, arriving at the new bus station in the rain at 3 AM. There were no lights on in the unpaved "car park" and the taxi drivers were sitting under the awning in the dark. Not very welcoming. I tried to go and get my motorbike in the lot, only to find that bikes were parked, locked, fully up against the bottom of the stairs, making it possible to access the lot only by climbing over them or walking back around on the road. Then, in the chaos that is unmarked bike parking, I find that my locked motorbike has been dragged some 15 feet from where I parked it (presumably to make room for the bikes to access the stairs), making it rather difficult to find in the dark. In a stroke of random luck, my bike wouldn't start. Motorbike taxi? 250 baht to Dowrung, with an absolute refusal to accept less than 200. In addition to the deceitful actions of the bus companies just inside the door (there are more companies, go have a look before you buy their tickets), I'd give the new bus station a solid D-.

Posted by Another Tom on May 7, 2012 11:02

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No tears for the motorbike chaps. It's called free enterprise. When my gf and I arrived to the old bus station several months ago with luggage, we tried to get a tuk tuk to take us to the local bus station across town. None would do it! The only option offered was to be taken all the way to Kata for 500B! So then I asked the motosai drivers, and they also wouldn't! We were effectively stranded, held hostage by greed. So finally a kind female motosai stepped in and agreed to take one of us and tried to get one of the other male drivers to take the other, but nope. We ended up 3 up carrying our suitcases on the back of a Honda Wave, shocks bottomed out. Happy to have transport, but this cost 100B and would have been 30B anywhere outside Phuket. I assume that the woman felt it was OK for her to take us because being a woman the tuk tuk/motosai mafia would not be likely to harm her. What a disgrace public transport is on this island.

Posted by Joe on May 7, 2012 23:59


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