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Phuket's tuk-tuk turnaround may be about to begin soon

Phuket to Trial Metered Tuk-Tuks, says Governor

Thursday, January 21, 2010
Tuk-Tuk Turmoil May Be At an End

TRIALS of fare meters in tuk-tuks could begin this year in Karon and Kata, Phuket's Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob said yesterday.

The move would represent a major breakthrough in attempting to solve Phuket's chronic transport problems, mostly caused by corruption and rip-offs that are turning off tourists.

The governor said the tuk-tuk organisation in Karon and Kata area was keen to evaluate meters as a solution to widespread alarm about the current price structure.

Governor Wichai yesterday echoed the concerns of tourists and Phuket expat residents about rising fares and noted that all Bangkok taxis had meters.

''The difference here may be that the minimum starting charge on Phuket is 200 baht, not 35 baht,'' he said. ''But we need to look at alternatives to the present system.''

The Karon-Kata tuk-tuk organisation is regarded as the most progressive of Phuket's traditional village-based tuk-tuk groups.

''I've been asked by the Karon-Kata tuk-tuk association to go there and talk about the prospect of metered tuk-tuks,'' he said.

Governor Wichai said the only type of Phuket's assortment of different kinds of high-fare vehicles not to cause complaints were the 68 metered taxis.

''Phuket doesn't have enough of those kinds of metered vehicles,'' he said. ''Why do people queue to wait for metered taxis at the airport? Because they trust the fare in these vehicles.''

Tourists were not using limousines and other vehicles from the airport and around the island because more and more were purchasing inclusive packages.

''Phuket resorts are buying their own vehicles because the fares are too high, and extra commissions are sought at unwanted stops along the way,'' he said.

The governor said the standards of public transport across Phuket needed to improve if its international reputation was to be maintained.

''We need tourists who have faith in a fair deal on Phuket and keep coming back because they like everything about the island,'' he said.

The governor said he wanted to hear that tourists were returning again and again to Phuket, enjoying their holidays each time.

The governor's comments on tuk-tuks came after a protest at Provincial Hall by about 100 airport limousine taxi drivers. The mass protest ended with the governor saying he would offer his view on the best settlement in one week's time.
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Comments

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Where would you locate a meter in a Tuk tuk? Up front with the driver so the passenger can't see it? In the Philippines certain metered taxis had been wired so the driver could "trip" the meter an extra 20pesos when you weren't looking. i forsee the same problem happening here if you are unable to maintain a "visual" on the meter!

Posted by Antz Pantz on January 21, 2010 09:27

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Meter starting at 200 baht? on unsafe, low priced, non air conditioned tuk tuks? They're joking aren't they?

Metering the Tuk tuks is part of the solution, but the price still has to be reasonable, and if anything cheaper than Bangkok,because the vehicles are inferior.

The biggest problem is they have to go back to their 'Queue" once they drop a fare off. Wasting gas, contributing to traffic and parking problems, and adding to the environment problems.

If they could just go on and pick up their next fare nearby, like Bangkok taxis do, they won't need to charge 200 baht flagfall to get back to their "queue", fares would be cheaper, the service would be better, as we would be able to pick up a tuk tuk everywhere, and since tuk tuk drivers would be working all the time, instead of just sitting around harassing the tourists, they would make more money too.

Even the m**** might be able to get their "cut".

I would even use them, whereas right now, most people avoid them as much as they can. I haven't used one ever. The first time I tried the driver asked such a ridiculous price I walked, then bought a car.

Posted by Phuket Coral on January 21, 2010 09:56

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Progress ??? If it wasn't for the 'maybe' 'sometime' 'this year' kind of implications..

And a 200 baht min charge.. How far does a 200 baht taxi take you in Bangkok with similar costs of living... Never mind, it is progress, albeit slow and painful.

Posted by LivinLOS on January 21, 2010 10:13

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200 baht minimum starting charge, are these people out of there minds !!!

In Pattaya, it is 10 baht for the full length of the beach. Wake up, Phuket .

Posted by Lord Jim on January 21, 2010 10:20

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whats the difference, if the meter starts at baht 200???

Posted by tuk tuk supporter on January 21, 2010 11:00

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At least the governor is talking about meters in tuk tuks. But I forsee lots of issues.Tuk tuk drivers will still rip you off, even with meters. They simply won't take a run with the meter and ask for a lot more.

What the governor really needs to talk about is a baht bus like Pattaya. A plan on buses needs to be talked about now. The tuk tuks will continue to hurt Phuket's tourism image because of high price fares and ripoffs. At the end of they day we are all talking about money and the influence of the tuk tuk m****.

Posted by Coyote on January 21, 2010 12:00

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Why does the governor think it acceptable that the minimum meter charge will be almost six times higher than that charged by metered taxis in Bangkok?

Is the cost of living in Phuket six times higher than Bangkok?

Posted by Simon Luttrell on January 21, 2010 12:01

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Personally I don't see this as a feasible option. Who would pay for the meters? (for sure not the tuk tuks... probably come from local tax collections). Some would still try not to turn it on.

The vehicles are still not safe... a slight crash and it's a serious one in those. Plus driving skills are woeful at best.

Air-con metered taxis would be a better step in the right direction. Lots of signs telling tourists to get out if the driver won't use the meter would help.

Beyond that... a genuine public transport system for all to use. Buses that go along the beaches would the place to start. Ore regular, better signage and marking as to where to pick them up.

Clear printed fares for all to see in a few languages. Buses can be simple songthaews to start if money is an issue. But get the system set up and then in time upgrade the vehicles.

Tuk tuks should be eradicated from Phuket.

Posted by Duncan on January 21, 2010 12:50

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200 Baht "start fee" with meter? H*ll, I can drive all the way across Bangkok for 200 Baht! Precicely that's why I prefer to live in The Big Mango + 100% lower prices on all other things, apartment, food, entertainment etc. But I miss the sunsets at Kata Beach :(

Posted by Jens on January 21, 2010 13:53

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Let tuk-tuks stay, but under a new scheme to have them moving instead of parked.

-Within Karon-Kata 50 bth.
-Karon-Kata 100 bth
-Karon-Patong 150 bth
-Karon/Kata-Phuket Town 250 bth

-no restrictions on who can pick up where

Not rock bottom prices, but they should be incentive enough to keep rolling, and acceptable enough by tourists.

Posted by Nicke on January 21, 2010 15:07

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Haha, funny! I think they talk about 200 Satang... :)

Posted by Hajo on January 21, 2010 15:56

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Really, starting with 200 baht? I guess they want also to serve a glass of ice cold Champagne on the travel.

Posted by Lena on January 21, 2010 16:21

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200 THB would be an utter rip-off!

Posted by Buck Wild on January 21, 2010 18:46

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Blah blah blah 'baht bus' blah blah blah 'Pattaya'- change the record - this ISN'T Pattaya and things aren't going to change.

Posted by Mister Ree on January 21, 2010 19:30

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Let's do away with Tuk Tuks. More metered cabs please. I have just returned from Bangkok where I was able to travel around economically, conveniently and comfortably without the hassle, stress and 'aggro' of bartering with drivers. I won't use tuks tuks and the transport system here is woeful.

Why can't we have more metered cabs in Phuket?

Posted by john on January 21, 2010 19:59

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This B.200 starting charge is insane and just goes to show just how out of touch these people really are !!

Posted by Local on January 21, 2010 20:04

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200 baht? And why should we not compare the situation in Phuket with Pattaya?

Anyway, if I flag a taxi outside my place in the center of Bangkok, it costs me almost exactly 200 baht to get to the airport. I guess somebody need to explain to the Tuk Tuk drivers that you are not SUPPOSED to get wealthy and well off by driving a Tuk Tuk.

Or any other kind of vehicle for that matter!

Posted by christos on January 21, 2010 21:22

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I don't think the governor is saying the start charge WILL be 200 baht, I think he's saying that that is what it appears to be at the moment.

Posted by Antz Pantz on January 21, 2010 21:56

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Why in the world would i pay MORE for a taxi in Phuket than in Bangkok?? Surely it costs more to run a brand new Toyota Altis taxi in Bangkok than a P.O.S 3 cylinder "tin can" in Phuket with no AC/windows/seatbelts??? And Bangkok taxi drivers still make money. Rid Phuket of TukTuks and take the jet skis with them.

Posted by Tom Jones on January 22, 2010 02:19

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i come to phuket every year and i can see a big rise in violence there as it get busier and more built-up i suppose the lure of making money attracts all sorts of people there but when it come to tuk tuks....no thanks....i hire a scooter for 200bt a day and go whereever i want (carefully) i wont pay those inflated prices they ask....its a ripoff...? bangkok you get an airconditioned car at a fraction of the price....

Posted by gerard on February 3, 2010 15:21


Monday July 6, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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