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Phuket Airport Bus Route Tenders Open, Taxis Set for Key Talks

Monday, November 12, 2012
PHUKET: A key meeting takes place tomorrow to determine the future of Phuket International Airport's taxis and limousines.

Driving changes is Phuket Land Transport Chief Teerayut Prasertpon, who believes Phuket's entire taxi system is being gradually brought into the 21st centry.

Tomorrow's meeting is likely to see Airports of Thailand, which manages Phuket's airport, resume control over the assignment of taxis and limos.

At present, two existing taxi groups and the metered taxi group each make their own arrangements.

Khun Teerayut has recommended adopting the successful system that operates at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, where taxis form one queue and the airport gains 50 baht per pickup.

Today is also a significant milestone for Phuket's public transport future with tenders now open for bidders who wish to run the three new airport bus services to Phuket's west and south.

Companies and groups interested in the buses have until December 26 to express interest.

Reforms introduced this year by Khun Teerayut are gradually bringing under control and modernising the chaos of Phuket's freewheeling taxi transport system.

The most important development so far is the introduction of a central call number, 1584, for anyone looking to hire a cab anywhere on Phuket.

It's anticipated that as drivers in the system gain most of Phuket's taxi business, more drivers will sign on to be part of the call centre system.

An important decision for consideration at tomorrow's meeting will be about the future of the Mook Andaman group, a new taxi group established from taxis that were formerly illegal.

There are 130 members of the group but the airport management says there is room for just 50 additional taxis under the present system.

Creating a more efficient system may allow all existing registered taxis to function from the airport.

The new bus routes from the airport will for the first time offer arriving and departing tourists a cheaper method of transport to and from Phuket's west and south.

The three bus routes open for tender from today are: Phuket airport to Rawai (southern Phuket); Phuket airport to Kamala-Patong, and Phuket airport to Kata-Karon.

Comments

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It will be interesting to see how many, if anyone, dares to bid on these routes and risk the retaliation and intimidation from the taxi and tuk tuk mobs.

Last attempt to introduce a bus service between Patong and Karon-Kata ended up in the driver being pulled from the bus and badly beaten.

Since this is a well known risk, I wonder what efforts the authorities are making to ensure the safety of the new routes and their operators.

Posted by Andrew on November 12, 2012 10:58

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Anyone knows where you can find the time schedule for the bus routes and where do they stop on the way ( if they stop )?

Posted by Nick on November 12, 2012 11:18

Editor Comment:

The editor is not available this week for response.

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"Last attempt to introduce a bus service between Patong and Karon-Kata"

There is no such thing planed!
No bus service BETWEEN west coast locations! It's only about Airport to the west/south!
No Kata to Patong or any other location, held hostage by the TukTuk Gangs.

Posted by Anonymous on November 12, 2012 12:39

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@ Anonymous

Patong-Karon/Kata was the last attempt at a public bus service anywhere to or along the west coast, hence the relevance.

If you think the tuk tuk and taxi mob will not react to a cheap, public bus service from Kamala, Patong, Karon, Kata, Chalong and Rawai TO the airport, you are living in Disneyworld.

Or did you perhaps imagine it's going to be a one-way service ?

The amount of exclamation marks is usually directly relative to the insignificance of the comment.

Posted by Andrew on November 12, 2012 13:24

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I sincerely hope this is going to work, I have the feeling that the climate has changed against some others offering public transport, and the chances of success are a lot bigger than they have been in the past.

Posted by stevenl on November 12, 2012 13:44

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I have always found that most bus services will pick up and drop off anywhere on route. This certainly applies to the existing ''VIP Executive'' service from the Airport to Phuket Town that I use several times a month.
For your information the latest reduced service Airport Bus Timetable due to ''Annual Maintenance'' is:
http://www.airportbusphuket.com/timetable.html
Phone: 076 232371 or 086 4706675
PS: Links allowed because you-know-who is ''away'' recharging his batteries! :-)
PPS: Why is 'Editor's Fingers Fall Silent As Fifth Phuketwan Birthday Draws Closer not included in Most Viewe or
Most Comment hmmm!

Posted by Amazed in Thailand on November 12, 2012 13:53

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Just came back from Bangkok where I paid THB 250 + 110 Baht for highway toll fees from the airport (Don Muang) to my hotel (Banyan Tree) for a 35 minute ride, drove by meter without any discussion. I was so happy to see that, I gave the driver an additional THB 100,- tip after being used to the ripp-off in Phuket. If they can introduce the metered taxis as well, this will be a milestone in improving service for tourist and reclaim Phukets reputation.

Posted by Jakub on November 12, 2012 15:26

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A few days ago a guest who had reserved a room in our guesthouse took a taxi from the airport to get here.
But the driver told the guest that he did not know this place, so she showed him a print with a clear map in Thai language, which he claimed not to understand. Then she asked him to call us, which he refused. It all ended up with that she got scared and let the driver take her to a guesthouse where he could get commission. This is not the first time I hear about tourists trouble to get to a hotel of their own choice and that kind of behavior will certainly not do any good for tourism on Phuket.

Posted by Guesthouse owner on November 12, 2012 19:22

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To add to the above, a friends parents were recently scammed for 4000B for a taxi from the airport to Kata. Another tourist I spoke to recently paid 1800B. This distance would cost 190B in Bangkok metered taxi. Just shameful the greed and dishonesty.

Posted by NomadJoe on November 13, 2012 02:11

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"...believes Phuket's entire taxi system is being gradually brought into the 21st century."

It's not even in the 20th century yet. The last time I used a taxi in the 20th century in Europe, the "Taxi Meter" actually used the meter.

Posted by Buster on November 13, 2012 14:42

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-NICK-
No, time schedule available now, for new routes.You just can -bid- now! Unsure they will ever run.
Bus service already running, is Airport to Phuket town and return every 40 min as I remember.

Posted by Alfred on November 13, 2012 14:46

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@Anonymous: "No Kata to Patong or any other location, held hostage by the TukTuk Gangs."

Correct. The driver was dragged out of the bus and beaten up. This was in the 1990's if I recall correctly. Perhaps a little before your time.

Posted by Buster on November 13, 2012 14:47


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