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A rear-entry tuk-tuk: best not to try this on side-entry tuk-tuks

Phuket Bid for 150 More Tuk-Tuks, 25 More Taxis

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
A SPECIAL governor's transport committee has been asked to approve the addition of 150 tuk-tuks and 25 metered taxis to the present numbers of registered vehicles on Phuket.

Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob, one day short of retiring, spoke briefly yesterday to the committee to suggest that unless there are improvements in transport on Phuket, Phuket resorts should start to warn their guests about rip-offs.

As a final idea, he said that the best of the tuk-tuk drivers could be granted a registration sticker by Phuket administrators at Provincial Hall that would enable only those approved vehicles to be recommended by resorts.

The Committee to Register Public Transport and Car Services on Phuket was set up by Governor Wichai to deal with Phuket's transport issues in the same way that the governor's special committee on the environment has been overseeing all property approvals.

Fronting the committee's third session yesterday were representatives from Phuket's meter taxi company, who said that although there were 69 meter taxis on Phuket as at September 17, only 55-60 were available on any given day.

This was an insufficient number when two or more flights landed at Phuket airport about the same time, the committee was told. The argument was put that as limousine numbers had been increased recently, taxi meter numbers should be increased, too.

Concern was expressed about the potential for a backlash blockade by limo drivers if the increase in taxi numbers proved to be controversial. The Airports of Thailand committee representative said the taxi meter company had asked them for an increase of 30, not 25.

How could it be guaranteed that the new taxis are not on-sold to others, as was the case with the new limo licences, one committee member asked. The AoT representative said there were already 358 vehicles registered to operate out of the airport.

It was left to the AoT to look more closely at the issue and report back.

The committee, meeting at the Transport Office in Phuket City, then moved on to a request from the Tuk-Tuk Federation to add 150 tuk-tuks. Seventy were already operating illegally, the committee was told.

There were 1158 registered tuk-tuks on Phuket, 644 rear-entry and 514 side-entry, with the rear-entry kind operating only in Kathu and Phuket City and side-entry vehicles operating all over the island.

In Patong, there were 700-800 tuk-tuks, 1385 motorcycle taxis at 131 taxi stands - and about 5000 ''black'' illegal taxis, the committee was told by a tuk-tuk representative who said he had 23 years' experience.

The ''black'' taxis multiplied with the number of tourists, and vehicles that didn't even look vaguely like taxis took fares when US Navy warships anchored off Phuket.

If the ''black'' taxis could be outlawed, it would be possible to register 500 more tuk-tuks, the committee was told.

One committee member pointed out that even Thailand's Human Rights Commission had recently added to the great number of complaints about tuk-tuks taking over public parking spots in Patong.

Another added that a Phuket tourism road show to Australia that returned just last week had heard complaint after complaint from travel agents about tuk-tuk rip-offs, reflecting the attitude of most tourists to extortionate fares and bad attitudes.

The tuk-tuk drivers often dressed poorly and were rude to visitors, the committee heard.

Governor Wichai's suggestion of a new select code for approved tuk-tuks is to be considered, along with the application for the additional 150 tuk-tuks.

Chaired by Vice Governor Niwit Aroonrat, the committee includes representatives from the Public Prosecutor's Office, Phuket's Deputy Police Chief, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, AoT, the Phuket Tourist Association, the Tourist Police, Patong Municipality, Kathu police station, the Transport Department and the Director of the Kathu District.
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Comments

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Who dreams up this stuff???

Is this now the new easy-money option? There are enough rip off tuk tuks on this island.

Damn the taxis as well. There should be a decent public transport system in place here.

Same BS, different day.

Posted by Robin on September 29, 2010 08:01

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Why not compromise?

Let's have 150 more metered taxis and we will give you 25 more tuk tuks?

One can dream.

Posted by Glen on September 29, 2010 08:46

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Sounds like a script for Hollywood. Let's see what the new Governor and his team can do. There is absolutely no justification for more tuk tuks.

Talk to some on the street and many will tell you they are no busy enough, tourist numbers down etc. So why would any intelligent person approve more? (rhetorical question)

Posted by Duncan on September 29, 2010 09:00

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5000 ''black'' illegal taxis, if the ''black'' taxis could be outlawed, it would be possible to register 500 more tuk-tuks ......... said the tuk-tuk representative!

Posted by rick shaw on September 29, 2010 09:41

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Woo hoo - just what we need. There's certainly a demand for them to block the few remaining parking spots in Patong.

Posted by Mister Ree on September 29, 2010 09:59

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Why not give 2000 more tuk-tuk licences?
That way they will starve faster and be out of business very quick.
It's may be the best option to get rid of them.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on September 29, 2010 12:01

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Firefly flight all the way from Penang to Phuket, 1,000 baht.
Taxi for the final 10 km from Phuket airport to Kamala, 900 baht.
Something just doesn't add up here.

Posted by Anonymous on September 29, 2010 12:33

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I can understand the addition of one tuk-tuk driver to replace that guy who attacked the tourist family with a steel rod. But I understand that they did not have to replace that driver as I hear he was right back to driving his vehicle, scowl in place and steel rod ready, shortly after the incident.

150 more of these guys and this will indeed be an exciting place to bring the family.

Posted by Treelover on September 29, 2010 13:19

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While I agree on the need of a few more meter-taxis, the number of Tuk-Tuks should be reduced by at least 500. There are enough kings of Rip-off already.

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on September 29, 2010 13:22

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I like the idea about more tuk tuks. Also, we need more committees for everything. Also increase the prices to 5000 baht one-way from airport.

Posted by blb on September 29, 2010 13:32

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I guess a Governor who know the island well should be a plus. But then again, only one year on the job, why should he make foes? What is a year?

Bangkok should offer a bounty of 50 million baht for anyone who can bring order and decency and good value and service to public transport in Phuket.

But maybe that's not enough.

Posted by Lena on September 29, 2010 13:40

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They can't be serious, can they?....I'll tell ya, living in Phuket gets more comical with each passing day......"Officials go on and on, day after day wooing us with promises of how they will improve this island....but lo and behold, another completely off the wall idea comes into the picture that only adds to the degradation of this island...It is all beyond belief!

Posted by sky on September 29, 2010 13:49

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IF..they make this permanent..GOD help PHUKET....Tuk Tuks are out of date they have passed there sell by date...why not revaluate the whole transport system..eg

1 new bus service
2 new modern meter cabs
3 new Airport transport..to all areas in Phuket

But like most things here in PHUKET..because of Corruption and Personal greed...it probably will never happen.

Posted by barka on September 29, 2010 15:04

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As someone who has nothing invested here except time, like many other expats, to be selfish this is just great news. in a few years their will be very few tourist returning and the rip-offs will move on somewhere else.

however i truly do feel sorry for the hard working honest thais and foreigners who want to make this place wonderful. and i will patronize and refer them to others.

its obvious nothing will change for the better. so let the place sink. there are many other beautiful places in thailand and the world to have a holiday.

Posted by john s on September 29, 2010 15:19

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why stop at 150?...Go out with a bang and just add another 500-1000 for that matter...There's still plenty of room on the beach road and 200 Pee road for double and triple parking....we certainly need more tuk tuks....

Posted by Zig on September 29, 2010 15:50

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Amazing Thailand! Govenor Wichai really talked the talk, thought he might of done something about these Bandits before his term ended instead of just making committies that make them wear uniforms and smile as they rip us off at a set rate. I don't care if my taxi drivers wearing a Borat mankini and has a face like a slapped backside as long as he gets me to were I wanna be safely and for a fair price. Bottom line....They are still and will continue to be 'a total rip off' as long as Phuket is controlled by the corrupt!

Posted by Chalongian on September 29, 2010 18:35

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Agree with BARKA 100% except the world "probably" in the last sentence. It should read: It will never happen...

Posted by herbert on September 29, 2010 19:34

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more tuk tuks / taxis = less tourists.
Simple arithmetic.

Who makes this decision and what do they gain?

And if anyone should be protesting it should be the local tuk tuk and taxi drivers!!!!!!!

Posted by Vfaye on September 29, 2010 20:21

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Tuk Tuk and Taxis in Phuket are among the most expensive in the world and after midnight Patong must be number one.
How can you get a ride in Pattaya for about 8km that cost 10 Baht and then be asked 500 Baht from Tai Pan to Holiday Inn Patong ? Everyone should avoid Tuk Tuks and put them out of business, they are the biggest scam in Phuket.and violent to tourists. If you stay in Patong JUST WALK EVERYWHERE.

Posted by terry on September 29, 2010 22:34

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what a shame.what a joke.
let's the bandits take over the island..or just leave... like the governor.

Posted by the tired joker on September 30, 2010 01:37

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150 more drivers to divide the pie into even smaller pieces equals more desperation to rip off customers

Posted by Mikey on September 30, 2010 03:28

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Greed, that's all it is here in Phuket.
What happen to public servants that have the best interests for all their citizens?

Let's finally do something that is good for the citizens and tourist of Phuket and get a real public transport system.

The only hope is the central govenment in Bangkok. The local governments here won't do anything unless they are forced by Bangkok.

This is a sad situation.

Posted by James on September 30, 2010 09:41

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Same old story! I'm so happy that I moved to Ao Nang last year...

Posted by Simon Luttrell on September 30, 2010 10:22

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Unless decisive action is taken Phuket will be nothing more than an ugly memory in a few years time.

Posted by A. Skeptic on September 30, 2010 19:54

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Only 514 with rear entry? I thought we were being rear-entered by all of them.

Posted by andyman on October 4, 2010 13:29

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Tuk-tuk should be totally banned. Not only because of the scams, but they are unsafe in the traffic. They go slowly uphill because no power, and drive like crazy downhill, causing a lot of dangerous situations. And who wants to sit in a tuk-tuk if an accident happens .......

Ban the tuk-tuks, for security reasons.

Posted by jol on October 6, 2010 21:38

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As a little game for the kids, I asked them to count tuk tuks as we drove back home from Paradise Beach a couple of weeks ago. We were up to 100 before we left the beach road, and only a few of those were moving, the rest parked waiting for prey. MORE? BA!

Posted by Jamie on October 11, 2010 23:00


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