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Taxi drivers involved in threats to young Phuketwan Phuket Person of the Year 2011 will gain a second chance to become legal and honest

Transport Changes Begin With Buses

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
PHUKET: New set fares from Phuket's new bus station for taxis, tuk-tuks and mototrcycle taxis are being negotiated in readiness for the opening of T2 on Saturday.

''We are introducing a voucher system so that there will be one counter for everyone coming off the buses,'' Transport Director Wanta Pumararoskon told a planning meeting today. ''At that counter, we will issue vouchers for taxis, tuk-tuks and motorcycle taxis.''

The plan for careful management of onward transport from the new bus terminal represents the best opportunity in years to tame the monopoly maintained by the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers of Phuket.

They have driven fares sky-high, far beyond the reach of locals and barely within the reach of most tourists.

Khun Wanta says that only drivers who conform to agreed fares will be allowed to operate from the T2 terminus when it opens on Saturday with the 5am bus to Ranong the first to head off Phuket.

Illegal taxis operating from the present bus terminal in Phuket Town will be allowed to transfer to the new T2 in Thepkasattri Road, Rassada - provided they become legal in the meantime.

Phuketwan readers will recall that our Phuket Person of the Year 2011 - tour office worker Surinporn Saandluam - won the accolade because she stood up to the T1 taxi drivers.

They wanted to mislead tourists and sell them expensive rides when all the visitors wanted was advice on which bus to catch. Khun Surinporn was threatened and struck in the face for telling the taxi drivers that what they were doing was wrong.

Ninety motorcycle riders from T1 are to transfer to T2 and 30 more riders from the Rassada district will be added. Eleven tuk-tuks are also to transfer to T2.

Khun Wanta said the newly elected mayor and council in Rassada were offering to help in any way they could to make sure the new T2 terminus set fresh standards for Phuket.

The Transport Department is running T2 and will hand over to Rassada council once the early stages have been completed. A two million baht food court has yet to be developed.

''Both the Transport Department and Rassada municipality are keen to have local residents as involved as they can be in setting the fares for motorcycles, tuk-tuks and taxis,'' Khun Wanta said.

The Transport Department has been the prime mover in attempting to reform Phuket's public transport system, proposing call centres for taxis and new bus routes to Phuket's west coast holiday destinations of Patong, Karon, Kamala and Kata from Phuket International Airport.

Once the new bus terminal opens, a new 10 baht pink bus service will connect T2 and T1 every 15 minutes. The old Phang Nga Road terminus will be the departure and arrival point for all buses travelling around Phuket and to the nerighboring province of Phang Nga.

Between 10pm and 5am, all arriving Bangkok and inter-provincial buses on Phuket will continue to use T1.

Comments

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If what I read here is correct and is implemented as planned it is a huge step in the right direction to improve transport services on the island.
Just hope the set fares are reasonable for the distance traveled and not like the "set fares" in Patong.

Posted by innocent bystander on April 18, 2012 14:28

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I am so pleased to see this, i really hope that this will work but as i forsee most of the tuk tuks are run by certain sectors of mafia and the element of corruption has a chance to move in. I really think that this is a great thing and it will reverse much of the ill feeling by tourists and I honestly feel that more money will be made by the honest operators and most tourists will tip if the fare is reasonable, helping out the drivers, i dont use tuk tuks but i utilise the motorbike taxis but i normally use the same taxis over and over they know me now and its a great arrangement, these folk are wonderful to deal with. I really think that many more folk will use the services. I wish them good luck, its about time that something like this is introduced

Posted by Alex on April 18, 2012 15:03

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Let's just hope this isn't organized the same way the Gov organized the parking in Patong.

Guess we'll have to wait and see if this is yet more lip service.

Posted by Graham on April 18, 2012 15:57

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Sounds like good news. Was anyone ever charged or prosecuted for the attack on Khun Surinporn? It would be nice to hear a happy ending to that sad and cowardly attack on her.

Posted by Mister Ree on April 18, 2012 17:26

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I thoroughly agree innocent bystander.
We all know that this big problem will not be resolved overnight but as you say "a huge step in the right direction"
The legality issue will also be well received and necessary for insurance reasons etc

Posted by Amazed in Thailand on April 18, 2012 17:35

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I recently flew into the airport, my stress level was high as I was preparing myself for the inevitable 'showdown' with the taxis. My girlfriend casually walked up to the counter before I could tell her it's a scam too, got a voucer for 500 baht to BKK hospital and we were off. What a pleasant experience as I expected to pay 700 (as I have previously). Seems like it works there, good luck and keep this positive trend moving forward.

Posted by Jon on April 18, 2012 20:55

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Jon wrote: "got a voucer for 500 baht to BKK hospital"

Excuse me, is that cheap? You can drive thru Bangkok 2 times for that amount in a taxi! There's something wrong here, pls. stop paying these insane prices, boycott the whole industry.

Posted by Bo on April 18, 2012 21:15

Editor Comment:

A metered cab with the meter switched off - as they usually are - charges 400 baht from Phuket Airport to Phuket City.

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I have seen a lot of talk about fair pricing and last time I could be bothered to read to the end of the article I found that the tuk-tuk prices in Patong was going to be retained at the status quo as "maximum" (read: only) prices. They talk of "illegal" taxis that are known about by the powers that be, however, don't seem to be stopped from operating. I have heard it all before without visible change, I (am probably crazy but) hope that this time will be different.

Posted by Ty on April 18, 2012 23:23

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Dear Bo
I took your advice and avoided the ''insane prices''. It only took me 6 hours to walk home from the airport but what an adventure I had on the way.
Although I met some really nice people I think I will get the luxury fully air-conditioned [:-)]Airport Bus next time for 90 baht and go all the way to Phuket Town.
If you need to save your money it is a hop-on hop-off service that is good value for money.
Don't listen to the taxi guys at the Airport that I have heard tell tourists a few ''porky pies'' that this service does not exist . . . laugh a minute, they are but very friendly when you get to know them.

Posted by Amazed in Thailand on April 19, 2012 03:51

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This sounds like good news to me. I really hope that this is going to work, then everybody will be happy.
The only things that worry me is "Illegal taxis operating from the present bus terminal in Phuket Town will be allowed to transfer to the new T2 in Thepkasattri Road, Rassada - provided they become legal in the meantime". What will happen if they are not legal?

Posted by Retired roadworker on April 19, 2012 08:00

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Drove by the new bus station and didn't see allot of room for all those listed above. I hope there is someplace for them to Q other than blocking the main HWY.

Posted by mike on April 19, 2012 10:45

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My friends came down here a couple of weeks ago, when I asked what the paid from the airport to Chalong, they paid 1200, they negotiated down from 1500 and were happy, I didn't want to spoil their holiday happiness so i said nothing but I really hate this since it's a scam that keeps on and on.

Posted by Fingald on April 19, 2012 11:57

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@ fingald: prices for taxis at the airport are announced with big, big signs. Anyone who pays something like that did not pay attention at all or read up on it.

But I know it does happen, so I'm really hoping this new development at the new bus terminal is going to be a step in the right direction.

Posted by stevenl on April 20, 2012 07:23

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Info. to Fingald. When my wife and me take a taxi from airport to Phuket Villa 5 we never pay more than 500. Your friend must be a very easy scam victim.

Posted by Retired roadworker on April 20, 2012 07:47

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>Retired roadworker
What's your point?
I guess you live here or at least spend a lot of time here in Phuket, If you were to land in a country on the other side of the world (let's say Lebanon) after an 11 hour flight (early morning) would you be so easy to judge who's easy to scam?
Anyway the point is that there really needs to be a change and I am actually hopeful (call me naive), this would benefit all people here on the Island and I think we all would be happier, well except for a small group of selfish thieves.

Posted by Fingald on April 20, 2012 11:18

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I congratulate any fare payer who found a cab with a meter that works according to the drivers no cab meter works in all of thailand I also congratulate phuketwan making Khun Surinpore phuketan of the year be the only medal conferred on her for principals an honesty in all of phuket.

Posted by traveller on April 23, 2012 09:38

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Just one thing missing here - the prices! If the tuk-tuks have agreed to them, then there's little chance that they are reasonable. But I do pray that it all works out. We are all so sick of being ripped off.

Posted by Anonymous on May 1, 2012 03:40

Editor Comment:

If you search for the more recent article, you'll find plenty of updated information, including the fares.


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