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Turn 'em on or Lose 'em: Warning to Phuket Meter  Taxis as Fares Jump

Turn 'em on or Lose 'em: Warning to Phuket Meter Taxis as Fares Jump

Saturday, August 31, 2013
PHUKET: The drivers of Phuket's metered taxis are being urged to turn on their meters or lose the advantage they have in competing with high-fare rivals.

The message came this week from Phuket Land Transport Chief Terayut Polprasert. A taxi driver told him that meter-cab drivers sometimes prefer to negotiate the fare.

''You can't, because you are taxi meters,'' Khun Terayut said. ''Be warned that you are breaking the law.''

Three new potential tables of fares are being considered for Phuket, and Khun Terayut warned that acceptance of the new fares could make Phuket's metered taxis the most expensive in Thailand.

Phuket's taxi traumas are wide-ranging and it's believed that many meter cabbies switch off their meters and negotiate because their unmetered rivals earn more in higher fares.

However, when Suthin Jampatorg, operator of the metered Phuket Taxi Service Limited, was asked ''Do you know that metered drivers are being accused of turning off their meters?'' he responded: ''No, I've never heard that.''

The meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City on Thursday produced some highs, and lows. Sometimes, when talking about Phuket's fares, the highs and lows came in the same sentence.

It's the first time in 10 years, the meeting heard, that a rise has been considered for the fares of Phuket's 110 metered taxis.

Three differet schedules are being considered.

Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada told the drivers' representatives that if they considered there should be a fourth alternative, they should draw one up.

The three alternatives for fares - highest in Thailand but well below the fares demanded by the hundreds of taxi and tuk-tuk operators who monopolise Phuket's public transport - will be offered to drivers in a survey.

No date has been set for a resumption of talks after the survey.

Proposed New Phuket Fare Scales

Present Fares (approx)
First two kilometres, 50 baht; two to 22 kilometres, seven baht per kilometre, over 22 kilometres, six baht per kilometre.

Airport to Phuket Town 350 baht (32kilometres)
Airport to Chalong 368 baht (35kilometres)
Airport to Patong 446 baht (48kilometres)
Airport to Karon 476 baht (53kilometres)
Airport to Laguna 276 baht (20kilometres)
Airport to Cape Panwa 410 baht (42kilometres)
Airpot to Rawai 404 baht (41kilometres)

Option One
First two kilomtres, 50 baht. 12 baht per kilometre thereafter (highest rate in Thailand).

Airport to Phuket Town 534 baht
Airport to Chalong 570 baht
Airport to Patong 726 baht
Airport to Karon 786 baht
Airport to Laguna 390 baht
Airport to Cape Panwa 654 baht
Airpot to Rawai 642 baht

Option Two
First two kilometres, 50 baht; two to 15k, 12 baht; 15k and up, 10 baht.

Airport to Phuket Town 476 baht
Airport to Chalong 506 baht
Airport to Patong 636 baht
Airport to Karon 686 baht
Airport to Laguna 356 baht
Airport to Cape Panwa 576 baht
Airpot to Rawai 566 baht

Option Three
First two kilometres, 50 baht; two to 22k, 11 baht; beyond 22k, nine baht per kilometre.

Airport to Phuket Town 460 baht
Airport to Chalong 487 baht
Airport to Patong 604 baht
Airport to Karon 649 baht
Airport to Laguna 348 baht
Airport to Cape Panwa 550 baht
Airpot to Rawai 541 baht


Comments have been disabled for this article.


About 1 year ago I took a Metered Taxi from the airport to Home Pro.

The driver covered the meter with his baseball cap and asked for a flat rate of Bt 500.

I agreed but then asked me to show what the meter reads at destination just for curiosity.

It was Bt 304. Late night, not much traffic.

Every taxi does turn on their meter but it's covered with some sort of object. This way if they are pulled over, they can show the meter is running, although it has nothing to do with the actual fare they extract from the customer.

It would be interesting to see the response of the police if one was to take a Taxi from the airport to a police station and then demand to pay the metered fare.

Would they enforce the law or let the taxi driver rip off the passenger.

Posted by ThaiMike on August 31, 2013 09:12


Whatever option Phuket will go for, if it goes for one, basic precondition has to be that there's NO taxi without meter on the road and meters always MUST be used - otherwise the driver risks his license ( if he has one, 555 ). But this is obviously wishful thinking.

Posted by Resident on August 31, 2013 09:17


All Phuketians, Thais and foreigners alike, want a modern air-conditionned bus transport system and all metered-taxis and tuk-tuks equiped with taximeters which records the route and indicates the rate charged and the amount payable.
A light may be illuminated if the taxi is occupied.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on August 31, 2013 09:18


All this will achieve is to raise the starting price, and therefore untimately the "negotiated" fare. The so-called current fare table which has not been charged for years (despite Suthin Jampatorg's protestations) should be more than adequate. . The starting point for fare negotiations should not be to offer a 50% jump in the current rates. That way lies disaster.

Posted by eddy on August 31, 2013 09:53


You got to be kidding me Suthin Jampatorg. The other week I was told to **** off at the meter taxi stand at the airport by some potty mouth angry girl when I kept requesting to use the meter. She wouldn't budge from 650b. She caused quite a scene (or I did?). Left me standing and then refused to even serve me. Had to get a 700b limo to Chalong in the end. I assume this guy is the same operator that runs the airport metered service? Out of interest, the taxi guy was actually a nice guy. Clean it up and stop all this BS and deflection.

Posted by Andy on August 31, 2013 10:16


Option #4 GO **** yourself!!
Why don't we start our own "coalition" I have already made arrangements with friends to collect them at the airport and they will do the same. that way we NEVER have to submit to this type of extortion. Pity the newbies just off the boat.....lambs to the slaughter.
What a joke.....clear evidence of the "Lunatics running the asylum"
the sad saga continues
Tom ( realist NOT pessimist)

Posted by Tom on August 31, 2013 10:23


Haven't been to Phuket for years and after reading this site I never will again. Plenty of great places in Thailand. Why don't you show your disgust by leaving instead of whinging.

Posted by Peter on August 31, 2013 10:30


More absolute BS from those operating or in control of the taxi groups. Great to see the positive impact the DSI is having after all of the threats and promises, I guess we just keep waiting and hoping whilst continually reading the same problems repeating themselves at the expense of Phuket's future

Posted by Anonymous on August 31, 2013 10:42


At Bangkok fares, a trip from the airport to Patong would cost 260 baht (35 for first 3 km and 5 baht/km thereafter). Here it's 446 (present but in practice never less than 600), 726 (option 1), 636 (option 2) or 604 (option 3).

Posted by Anonymous on August 31, 2013 10:47


A taxi driver told him that meter-cab drivers sometimes prefer to negotiate the fare.

Oh please, we were not born yesterday! The norm is NOT to use the meter.

This is not me dreaming. I am at the airport most days and I see the arguments at the taxi meter office as customer after customer is told in no uncertain terms that the meter will not be used.


Posted by Simon Luttrell on August 31, 2013 11:04


Do you know that metered drivers are being accused of turning off their meters?'' he responded: ''No, I've never heard that.'' What a joke. This is ignorance at a hundred miles an hour. And it will not change, because of the attitude. They will keep breaking the law, because they are only warned, and not fined, and if there is a fine, it is a joke, because the justice system here in 2013 is still speaking about fines " not more than .... Baht ". Usually 1000 or 2000 baht. One more point for the realists... And to Ed; I am not in favor of the thugs, as you sometimes assume, but you believe in things that are not there. And we ( the realists ) believe in what we see. And from the 19 years that I have been here, I haven't seen a lot of changes for the better.

Posted by Charles on August 31, 2013 11:32


BUT there has also got to be an option to telephone for a meter taxi to take you from home/hotel to airport. That would help to further reduce costs with no need for taxis running one way empty.

Posted by Logic on August 31, 2013 12:47


What is the point of asking the drivers in a survey? Of course they will go for the proposal with the highest fares.

Posted by stevenl on August 31, 2013 12:48


You couldn't make this stuff up - ridiculous!

Posted by Terry on August 31, 2013 13:35


Last week I took a meter Taxi from airport to Kathu area. I had to pay 100 baht surcharge to the booth at the airport before I even got into the Taxi. When I sat in the Taxi the meter was already sitting on 50 baht.
When I arrived at my house another 620 baht.

Posted by kiwitezza on August 31, 2013 13:38


Taxi pricing is a thorny issue and is a problem in many places in Thailand.
More and more taxis in Bangkok refuse to use the meter as they feel the price is too low. The government refuses to raise the fares for fear of public disapproval. But the fact is costs have risen far in excess of prices for many years. I do not try to insist meter usage and am happy to negotiate the fare, just as it was done in the 80's and early 90's (makes me feel young again). If I don't like the price or the person, I pass.
Samui may be a better point of comparison since it is also primarily a tourist destination. The airport transport is controlled by some type of monopoly, which offers minibus and limo service. The bus price seems very reasonable. Not sure about the service. The limo is not cheap but the service is very good. In my view it is worth the premium they charge.
Outside the airport, the taxis all have the meter signs but nobody has ever used a meter. It is by negotiation and the fares are very high and they will gouge if they can. My experience is that you can have a good natured negotiation and likely cut the price way down. It's still expensive but the attitude is generally friendly. It seems that the local powers that be tolerate and perhaps benefit from the price fixing, but they are not so tolerant of hostile and violent behavior that will hurt business. The powers that be there are not powerless bureaucrats but the local, resident business owners and they won't allow a gang of free range yolo's to destroy their incomes and their home.
Crusading against overcharging, in this or any other country, is completely futile.
What needs to be addressed is the abuse and disrespect of the customers.

Posted by Yojimbo on August 31, 2013 16:16


I don't really get why those taxis would be forced to use their meters while 10 times more legal "limousines" are offering the exact same services in the same cars without having to use a meter.

Posted by John on August 31, 2013 18:34


Can I PLEASE pay 1000 + BJ for airport to patong?

Posted by ivon on August 31, 2013 18:51


how about the powers that be just enforce the laws now rather than threaten to enforce the laws later??
prosecute all illegal cabs now.. prosecute all meter taxis that do not conform with the existing laws by refusing to switch on their meters.. you don't teach a child not to steal sweets by promising them a sweet if they don't steal..

Posted by another steve on August 31, 2013 19:20

Editor Comment:

The metered taxis are just a small part of the problem.


What is this new big joke ? look at the three options , which one , do you think will be choosen ! please misters taxis put your meters and we will allow you to double your fare is that the deal ? This proposal is completely stupid and show that officials are unable to fix the issue. The only answer to taxi drivers who are breaking the law is to be sued and condemned. The best punishment being to immobilize the car for one or two weeks.
"I never heard that": I caledl the company two times when I had problem as well as the 1584 complaints number, which is useless.
It is also easy to put a policeman at the airport desk to see that taxi meter refuse to pick you up if you dont pay a fix price in advance .
all Phuket residents want to have a public transport service all over Phuket as well all tuk tuks and taxis with metered meters , but certainly not with the option 1 or 2 the only one acceptable being the One

Posted by petermach on September 1, 2013 10:02


Last night ( sunday )I had to pay 100 baht surcharge to the booth at the airport before I even got into the Meter Taxi. Going to Kata, the mounten between Kata and Chalong, the meter ended with 715 Bath, all together 815 bath. That is about 350 bath more than last time I drove a meter taxi 1?? year ago. Taxi's and Tuk-Tuk's will kill Phuket as a nice place.


Posted by Hans on September 2, 2013 12:26


I live in Phuket now 5 years and i am really ashamed what incredible travesty phuket became. The neverending jet ski scam, the hostile tuk tuk drivers and their fantasyland fares (they demanded last time for a 3 min ride from chalong circle to Sala Mexicali in Rawai 400 baht), the politicians who are unable to organise a proper public transport system to the insane destroying of the island by the wild west real estate market to the high price in some bars and restaurant who match or even cost more than in Europe, Australia etc. It does not affect me so much, but as somebody who works in the tourism industry i am so tired to hear from my clients the same annoying stories over and over again.

Posted by Hmmm on September 2, 2013 13:03

Friday February 28, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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