PHUKET: It is June, 2015. The taxi responds to my call to the Phuket-wide answering service and slides to a halt outside my palatial villa, high above Patong.
It's not far to Phuket International Airport, where the new international terminal has just opened to much praise, right on schedule. Even the Immigration officers are smiling now, people tell me.
I can't help noting how handsome the driver looks in his neatly pressed uniform, inspired by a suggestion from former Governor Maitree Intrusud and adapted from the stylish outfit worn by the Tourist Police volunteers.
All Phuket tuk-tuk and taxi drivers took to wearing the new uniforms soon after June 2014, when the call centre system was introduced.
You want a cab? Contact the call centre, and they'll send one straight to your door, guaranteed to arrive within five minutes, day or night.
It seems remarkable looking back but with the Big Reform of 2013, every Phuket tuk-tuk and taxi driver was pleased to stop charging extortionate fares.
How incredible it seems now that the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers on Phuket once used to charge passengers for a return-to-base trip that the poor passenger paid for, but never made.
''I'm delighted with the new deal,'' my driver says, smiling broadly. ''I get to work all day but I feel much better making an honest living.
''You know, sitting around most of the day with the boys, doing nothing, just waiting for a single rip-off fare . . . don't tell anyone, but I used to feel very guilty,'' the driver said, in perfect English.
''There were times at the airport, early in the morning, when I'd double the fare. And those illegal commissions! Man, how did they let us get away with that?''
About a year ago or more it must be now, the newly elected V Government ordered the taxi drivers to start treating tourists with honesty or face conscription into the large Phuket Tuk-Tuk and Taxi Bomb Disposal Contingent, destined for the Deep South.
Prime Minister anonymous told the tuk-tuk and taxi drivers it had to be done, for the good of her country and Phuket. We still don't know who she is, she's never seen without that mask. But it worked.
Every six months since then, the ranks of the tuk-tuk and taxi drivers have been reduced by 10 percent as drivers take up the government's offer to pay for their education at college or university.
Many are planning a fresh start as architects or cosmetic surgeons.
And every year now, the drivers all have to undergo a strict annual test to make sure they have the proper service skills. Decency 101 is said to be the most popular course at the local university.
If more than three customers complain within any 12 month period, the cabbie has to start all over again by applying for a driver's licence from scratch.
''You know, I love this job,'' the driver said as we pulled up at the new airport terminus, and one of the attentive airport staff opened my door.
The cabbie turned off the meter. ''It's been a wonderful experience driving you, sir,'' he said. ''Thank you. Do have a safe flight.''