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A tuk-tuk in Karon: drivers are being told to ''come into the real world''

Tuk-Tuk Drivers Told: Join the Real World

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
PHUKET: A DEADLINE of two weeks has been set for tuk-tuk and taxi drivers in Phuket's Karon-Kata holiday region to impose fare standards and improve service.

The timeframe was set by Phuket Vice Governor Niwit Aroonrat yesterday at a meeting in the Phuket City office of the Transport Department that included representatives from the Karon and Kata tuk-tuk and taxi drivers.

Drivers in this area of Phuket have been accused of blockading resorts to prevent tour vehicles picking up tourists, and of aggressive and violent behavior.

Vice Governor Niwit warned them that they needed to weed out rogue drivers or face further action.

''We all have to live in the real world,'' he told the tuk-tuk and taxi representatives. ''You won't survive in the real world if you don't have proper international standards and a real-world approach.''

Tuk-tuk and taxi drivers acrtually had to deliver real service and treat tourists respectfully, Vice Governor Niwit said.

Pornthep Chamkhao, the leader of what was the Karon-Kata Tuk-Tuk Association, now renamed the Tuk-Tuk and Taxi Love of Kata-Karon Group, mounted a case on behalf of about 500 local drivers who are members of the group.

He said a survey of resorts and hotels had all supported the payment of commissions to drivers for delivering guests - payments that respectable destinations elsewhere in the world have mostly outlawed.

Khun Pornthep said that the drivers were local people who supported other local businesses.

Vice Governor Niwit, who comes from Phuket, pointed out that the vast number of resorts in the Kata-Karon district were in fact owned by Bangkok people.

The new Director of Phuket's Transport Department, Teerayuth Prasertpon, said that it was time for drivers to develop a genuine service mentality rather than seeing their role purely as a money-making business.

He said he would look at what changed in Kata-Karon in the next two weeks before the parties meet again to reassess the situation.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


So somebody going to tackle the tuk tuk m....s to get real, the gloves are off and it should be interesting as to what transpires?
I hope you can win, Vice Governor Niwit.

Posted by Robin on May 25, 2011 11:44


It would also be nice if Tuk tuks didn't have exclusive parking rights, where ever they feel like it!

Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2011 12:58


Weed out rogue drivers ??

The issue is endemic, its not a few 'rogue drivers' its the system from the top down. The way to remove the problem is to set a fair price by meter and enforce the use of them.

Posted by LivinLOS on May 25, 2011 13:06


The only international recognized system for taxi fares are with a metered taxi system.

That's it.

Fixed prices and bargained prices are subject to conflicts and conflicts between local people and tourists are all-time at the expenses of tourists.

Powerless government administration are lost on Phuket until a strong committee from powerful central government meddles to fix it one way or another way.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 25, 2011 13:11


Oh noes! Delta House is on double secret probation. Go Get 'em Dean Wormer. Business as usual in three weeks but thanks for stopping by.

Posted by Martin on May 25, 2011 15:13


And what about the pest in Patong ??

Posted by Resident on May 25, 2011 16:20

Editor Comment:

The tuk-tuk drivers in Karon-Kata have been told they are not as well-behaved as the tuk-tuk drivers in Patong.


re Mr Resident and Mr Editor exchange: wow, the boys in Karon/Kata must be really naughty. K Tri and friends, get 'em all, but wouldn't a top down attack be better?

Posted by ssresident on May 25, 2011 17:41


"PHUKET:A DEADLINE of two weeks has been set has been set for tuk-tuk and taxi drivers in Phuket's Karon-Kata holiday region to impose fare standards and improve service."

And if they don"t ? Empty threats........Use the same standards as the tuk-tuk drivers use in Bangkok or take their licenses to operate away......period. Enough already...

Posted by arby on May 25, 2011 19:32


" was time for drivers to develop a genuine service mentality rather than seeing their role purely as a money-making business."

There's a white commuter van in Phuket with the name of the company in the rear window.

It is called "Make-money Phuket".

I kid you not.

Posted by Mike Boyd on May 25, 2011 21:12


the pie is cut into too many slices.

too many tuk tuks should ( in the real world) generate competition and lower fares.

Posted by mikey on May 25, 2011 21:35


I think its sad how restrictive all newspaper and newschannel in thailand report about such a thing. its so clear that the system works like that and not few bad drivers. why nobody tell the truth? even phuketwan is always too scared to write what they want because they get some very direct information from this people as well. and everybody know what happen if you would write everything what you want. we have to accept the supercorrupt way of how this system works in this country. everything else is lying. just avoid this people and tell everybody how bad they are. and the news will one day hit this guys. the biggest problem in thailand is. that there is no free speech culture and everybody is scared to death to tell the better we accept the way of living here and you could use that situation for you or you give up and relocate...its time for action

Posted by mike on May 25, 2011 22:00

Editor Comment:

brave words, mike, in anonymous feedback online.


It's just a low season/ election cycle type of announcement. By the time high season comes there'll be some new governor, appointed from some far flung district, in way over his head. And the blockade techniques will be even more refined with less tuk-tuks required to block the max number of hotels.

Posted by JingJing on May 26, 2011 01:20


Overpriced maximum fare standards were imposed in Patong only a few months back as I remember, and have so far meant didley squat, they seem to be recognised as the minimum fare by the drivers. I fail to see what good, telling the Kata Karon taxi and tuk tuk love group to do the same will do.
Will there be any serious repercussions if they fail to oblige?
At the end of the day they will never be value for money while people still have to bargain for the price of a ride. Put meters in them and be done with it...Or trade all them little red and yellow s**t boxes in for E class mercs to justify the fares!

Posted by Chalongian on May 26, 2011 01:39

Editor Comment:

The Governor recently told the honorary consuls that he'd had no complaints about the new scale of fares, although he accepted the word of the honorary consuls that tourists remained unhappy. Most of us here are familiar with the issue. But people who want change would be well-advised to make sure the governor knows. There's a post box out the front of his house.


It is possible that the Governor has received no complaints, because people now avoid using tuk-tuks. I used to when visiting but now walk as much as I can, as I refuse to pay the same to go 500 yards in a tuk tuk as I do to travel around 3-5 kilometres in a comfortable air conditioned taxi using a meter in Singapore. Pure lunacy Thailand - get your act together !!

Posted by Dizbuster on May 26, 2011 10:53


The tuk-tuk drivers are in the real world - they can do what they want with apparent impunity.

The fares they charge are multiples of anywhere else in the country. They can park illegally, they can blockade illegally and never face the prospect of arrest. That's reality.

And the underlying reality is that too many people - drivers, federation owners, politicians, civil servants and lawmakers - are making too much money for anything to change.

Take a look at the tourist numbers. Visitors are up, spend per visitor is down. Numbers are declining from most European destinations and growing from less affluent markets. It's a race to the bottom, for Costa del Phuket tourists. People with money have choices and they're choosing elsewhere.

Posted by Doug on May 27, 2011 16:58


They've tried this approach before with these people letting them set out their agenda and a half-hearted warning from a local official, well it didn't work previously and it won't work now. What it seems is needed is for the government in BK to send a hard hitter with the guts and power to set the rules and fares for these feral tuk-tuk and taxi drivers to comply with and if not they get charged, fined and or their licence revoked. Metering and enforcing compulsory strict testing of the vehicles and drivers plus a requirement for comprehensive insurance may in some way negate the 3rd world shoddy and criminal Mafia practises that have been allowed to be the norm on this island for decades and that are now starting to hurt and chase away the islands very life blood THE TOURISTS, CRUISE LINES & US NAVY.

Mr Ed where does the governor live so we can find his post box for our thoughts on the pricing or maybe even his email address as you seem to be in the know on all matters. Why don't you as a crack editor send out your intrepid reporters to ask the very people who come on holiday to Phuket what they think about the rip offs on the island, then maybe the governor will get the real feed back he seems to be lacking as the vast majority of tourists haven't a clue about your small island paper and don't get to have a say unlike us anonymous islanders. just a thought Ed.

Posted by Scunner on May 27, 2011 23:46

Editor Comment:

The governor's house (and post box) is in Phuket City, not far from Provincial Hall. Email is not efficient. We have a steady flow of feedback from tourists but those who fall victims to jet-ski predators are usually too embarrassed to follow up and fight back.


just do not take a tuk tuk ! since being verbally agressed twice by Kata tuc tucs,Ive stopped going there! Now, when I need to go places, either I take a local bus or a proper taxi . At least its comfortable, and much safer, and cool !

Posted by elizabeth on June 6, 2011 19:39


Someone in City Hall owns these buses, no?
Nothing will change I predict.

Posted by jwj on June 12, 2011 07:06

Wednesday April 24, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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