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Does Phuket need more tuk-tuks or public transport?

Phuket Tuk-Tuks High on the Governor's Agenda

Friday, May 14, 2010
TUK-TUK drivers are waiting to hear more about a proposal to test fare meters in vehicles - the first step in any reform that would give Phuket low-cost public transport alternatives.

Phuketwan was told today to expect action on the issue before the end of May, with Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob, a supporter of the concept of metered vehicles, likely to seek advice from the Department of Transport, which has proposed an efficient and inexpensive public transport network for the island as soon as possible.

Honorary consuls from about 16 nations are expected to make the issue of public transport on Phuket a high priority when they hold a second group meeting with the governor later this month.

Governor Wichai was told in February at the first meeting with the honorary consuls that rip-off fares on Phuket remained the biggest source for tourist complaints about holidays on Phuket, and one of the main reasons why some tourists are not returning.

While the attention of Governor Wichai has been diverted to deal with possible red protests on the island, some Phuket tuk-tuk drivers have been mounting a campaign through local media outlets to convince onlookers that they are capable of reforming their industry from within.

However, formation of local federations makes reductions in both prices and the number of drivers even less likely.

Tuk-tuk and taxi fares in Bangkok remain about one tenth the cost of those on Phuket, with pressure likely to continue unabated for a reduction in prices on Phuket.

Fares on the island are artificially inflated by a lack of competitive pricing, the high cost of tuk-tuks and taxis and licenses, and excessively high rents charged for airport parking by Airports of Thailand.

Drivers are also prohibited from making pickups outside their traditional village zones, forcing vehicles to always return to base empty.

Earlier this year, Governor Wichai made a trip to Germany for the ITB Berlin travel fair and was reported to be impressed with the range of economical travel alternatives he encountered in Europe.
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Comments

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"Fares on the island are artificially inflated by a lack of competitive pricing, the high cost of tuk-tuks and taxis and licenses, and excessively high rents charged for airport parking by Airports of Thailand." LOL

The real reason is that the taxi industry is run buy the Thai m****

Posted by Warren on May 14, 2010 19:40

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Forget the tuk tuks, or perhaps more accurately, introduce whatever measures (meters, new pricing structure etc) are felt appropriate but concentrate on the main necessity. Public transport.

The tuk tuk ma - ahem, I mean, federations will throw as many metaphorical, and possibly literal, roadblocks to change as possible.

Block the meters, not switch on the meters, ask for a board of inquiry to look into meters for a few years etc., etc. They're not going to reform themselves and they'll delay reform for years.

On the other hand, a hundred buses can be delivered in a week. It's a question of getting the money from central government and having the political will. And it needs to be done really, really soon.

Posted by Doug on May 15, 2010 03:37

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I agree with. warren ...
Get the buses on the roads urgently.....

Posted by barka on May 15, 2010 07:52

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The answer starts with enforced regulation. There needs to be a government directorate created to draft and enforce taxi regulations.

The regulations would need to be prescriptive to prevent corrupt influence of the directorate's activities. This directorate should mandate -

* the number of licences issued
* the qualifications for drivers and owners (including clean police records)
* anti-monopoly ownership limitations
* free competition (dismantling of the village pick-up system)
* a maximum fare structure (not a set fare - retain the ability for competition to reestabish itself).

The directorate could be funded by levying a fee on owners, which will add a cost to fares but should result in a cleaner industry, a re-emergence of competition and a consequent reduction of fares overall.

Posted by Ping on May 15, 2010 08:35

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This will never be fixed. They'll delay until Sept when the governor retires. The only way around it is to rent a scooter.

They'll never get public transport here. I can already see a tuk-tuk blockade in front of whatever bus station that might be built.

Posted by JingJing on May 15, 2010 13:03

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Khon Khaen had just got a fantastic taxi system, 35 baht for the first two kilometres. Everybody is happy !

Same price in Phuket is workable, as they will get much more customers per taxi a day ! All new taxis, fitted with LPG, so cheap to run.

Phuket next !!!

Posted by peter on May 16, 2010 00:39

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12 years, five Governors, top of the agenda. Five failures, pure rhetoric. Appease both sides by doing nothing ....

Posted by steve on May 20, 2010 11:47

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Good luck to the Governor. He's a brave man.

Posted by littlechang on May 23, 2010 23:47

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So sad to see Phuket as the only location in Thailand where the transport is priced at what the tourist is willing to pay, not on what the people of Thailand are willing to pay. I love this island, but 1100 tuk tuks? How did that happen?

This is out of control. Please, big bosses from Bangkok come save us before Phuket is lost forever!!

Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2010 21:04


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