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Phuket opinion: Fair fares for all


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OPINION: Fares fair for all

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PHUKET: -- The cooperation that has developed between the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is most welcome. Finally, the end is in sight for the island’s assorted taxi mafias. And residents and visitors alike can look forward to the dawning of a long-overdue era of metered taxis – and professional and fair services from the island’s drivers and transport companies.

Moreover, many of the more honourable taxi drivers who were dragooned into going along with the taxi mafia’s sharp businesses practices and general thuggery, can now breath sighs of relief.

No longer will predator drivers at the airport be able to take advantage of exhausted tourists who have just disembarked from long-haul flights, and are duly seen as easy prey.

And most of Phuket society will be mightily relived to see the end of those taxi “fiefdoms”, though not the nefarious cowboys who have been flouting common decency for so many years now.

Until this point we have been in danger of killing – or at least, seriously wounding – the golden goose. How so? First impressions count enormously. And if the first impression a visitor gets of the island is getting ripped off and/or finding him or herself in a dispute with a taxi-driver – and so many luckless tourists have – the image of Phuket as a tropical tourist paradise suffers. And with tourism being the main driver of the island’s economy, addressing the taxi problem with vigour and finality is an imperative.

We also welcome the new look of the taxi vehicles themselves. With a uniformity of appearance, public trust will begin to be restored; though understandably, this will take time, given how entrenched the problem has become.

The NPCO has truly made its mark with numerous crackdowns in recent weeks and months. However the targets in the NCPO’s cross-hairs has usually been deserving of a direct hit – few more so than Phuket’s opportunistic taxi mafias and their misguided minions.

What is often overlooked in this discourse is that many of the island’s taxi drivers are fine, honest souls unconnected to the racket, and thankfully they too will be beneficiaries of the drive against the unscrupulous drivers.

The reputation of the island will also benefit. High season therefore may well see a resurgence of Phuket’s fortunes, and a rise in business confidence island-wide.

Source: http://www.thephuketnews.com/opinion-fares-fare-for-all-47719.php

[pn]2014-08-06[/pn]

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Until they have flat fare hop-on / hop-off mass transport here, I'm afraid tourists are going to be dealing with "tricked-up meters" and "meter no work" and drivers taking the long route to the customer's destination.  

 

They need a bus system on the coast road, between the beaches - it's as simple as that. 

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Is the Phuket News not aware that the taxi drivers are resisting the change to meter taxis?

Are they aware that the green plate taxis have denounced the change to meter taxis?

Are they aware that the official prices for meter taxis are the same, or only slightly lower than what is in existence now?

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Last time I went to Phuket and needed Taxi after long long journey I opted for a private taxi...and paid the supplement...after waiting for 30 mins I questioned the taxi people and ...coming coming!!..another 15 minutes and again by now getting angry...not have not have..have minibus only...no refund etc and as tired and fed up went in the taxi with a couple who was on there first visit to Thailand....half way or so to town they stopped and tried to railroad us into a hotel booking with all sorts of stories about hotel no good !! etc.

In the end I got a little angry and told them they have 5 minutes to take us to our destination or trouble....my partner was Thai so she helped too...We ended up in a minibus with a driver driving like a madman and when asked to slow down went faster..it was very very dangerous and I don't scare easy....This was maybe 5 years ago and since have always advised people who ask me where to go not to go to Phuket..and will continue to do that..The couple who I kept in contact with were not happy and have never been back to Thailand since....just one example of what these mafia etc are doing to Thailand...how much better the place and image and expectation would be with out this stuff going on.And from reading comments it doesn't seem to have changed...

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Last time I went to Phuket and needed Taxi after long long journey I opted for a private taxi...and paid the supplement...after waiting for 30 mins I questioned the taxi people and ...coming coming!!..another 15 minutes and again by now getting angry...not have not have..have minibus only...no refund etc and as tired and fed up went in the taxi with a couple who was on there first visit to Thailand....half way or so to town they stopped and tried to railroad us into a hotel booking with all sorts of stories about hotel no good !! etc.
In the end I got a little angry and told them they have 5 minutes to take us to our destination or trouble....my partner was Thai so she helped too...We ended up in a minibus with a driver driving like a madman and when asked to slow down went faster..it was very very dangerous and I don't scare easy....This was maybe 5 years ago and since have always advised people who ask me where to go not to go to Phuket..and will continue to do that..The couple who I kept in contact with were not happy and have never been back to Thailand since....just one example of what these mafia etc are doing to Thailand...how much better the place and image and expectation would be with out this stuff going on.And from reading comments it doesn't seem to have changed...


Well well after not being here for 5 years you still follow, and post, on the Phuket forum on TV.
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Well well after not being here for 5 years you still follow, and post, on the Phuket forum on TV.

This topic was featured as "Editor's pick" on Thaivisa newsletter. This means that people who do not normally follow the Phuket forum, read and sometimes participate on these threads.

 

There is nothing wrong with that. At least I rather read various opinions instead of getting ideas just from small circle of people. 

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Last time I went to Phuket and needed Taxi after long long journey I opted for a private taxi...and paid the supplement...after waiting for 30 mins I questioned the taxi people and ...coming coming!!..another 15 minutes and again by now getting angry...not have not have..have minibus only...no refund etc and as tired and fed up went in the taxi with a couple who was on there first visit to Thailand....half way or so to town they stopped and tried to railroad us into a hotel booking with all sorts of stories about hotel no good !! etc.

In the end I got a little angry and told them they have 5 minutes to take us to our destination or trouble....my partner was Thai so she helped too...We ended up in a minibus with a driver driving like a madman and when asked to slow down went faster..it was very very dangerous and I don't scare easy....This was maybe 5 years ago and since have always advised people who ask me where to go not to go to Phuket..and will continue to do that..The couple who I kept in contact with were not happy and have never been back to Thailand since....just one example of what these mafia etc are doing to Thailand...how much better the place and image and expectation would be with out this stuff going on.And from reading comments it doesn't seem to have changed...

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Re Patongphil....

Am rather surprised by your reply to my observations I made on a visit to Phuket several years ago...As the above poster has said this was highlighted on TV e mail and it struck a cord..I made my observations...Also I would indicate I have just joined TV a couple of weeks ago hence my low post etc..I would also say that over the last 14 years have probably spent in excess of 3 years in Thailand most being in the last 3 years though due to having a house with my Thai wife in lamphun ..I travel and spend therefore a great deal of time planning, travelling and taking care of our house there so I think It would be wrong not to have a healthy interest in all things Thai...I would assume by your comments that you maybe don't think there is a problem with the Phuket taxi services ?? I bow to your undoubted knowledge as by your name I would imagine you must live in Phuket area..

A healthy vibrant discussion and observations are always needed in and exchange of views and I feel its slightly disconcerting that this isn't apparently welcomed by some posters....

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At 53yo I have been involved with the mafia taxis twice, once it actually ended up in a fist fight!
The first time,  I rent out a couple of apartments here, <removed>, for 8 years we used the
taxis from the illegal taxi stand built on our land out the front. One day a guest said "we can't use the taxis out the front,
they don't speak English and we insist on a child seat for our baby and they don't have one." My girlfriend at the time said
"no problem, I will take you in our Ford SUV, we have a baby seat".
About 30 minutes later I get a call from reception saying "there is someone to see you here". I went to reception
and there were five thugs all screaming at me in Thai. After a couple of minutes we worked out that they were saying
we can't take guests in our car, and trying to drag me outside! I knocked their hands from my shirt, explained three
times that it was a special case as they did not have a baby seat etc. They kept screaming, one yelled "NO, fuck you!"
At that point I gave them the middle finger and walked off. The next morning and a few mornings after that, there was
a thug standing at our car giving me a dirty look, as if to say we know where you live and where you park.
At one point in the altercation I said I was going to call the police and they laughed, and said the police were
"their friends" and said go ahead. I can not express how happy I was when 95 of them around Surin were arrested by the Army and
their horrible illegal taxi stands were demolished.
 
The second time was in Karon Bch, I thought I maybe touched a vehicle double parked, when a scooter came at me from the right.
I pulled over (first mistake) and their was a tiny bit of white paint from my SUV on a black 4x4.
Long story short, it escalated into an actual fistfight with me eventually on my knees with five of them throwing punches
and me blocking. We ended up at the Karon Police station,  and at first the cop listened very impartially with no sympathy
to both sides. But later he called me into an empty room and said "that corner has many cameras, I have looked at the film
and everything you said was true and everything they said was lies, so maybe you could send some to jail, but do you
want mafia enemies outside jail?" (they would not let me see the video)
He made it pretty clear it was smarter to let it go. I got the picture, but still they hit me 2,000Bht for something I could
not quite understand. Obviously I was not impressed! However, I found out later that the Army arrested the Mayor of Karon for
"protecting the mafia taxi drivers for years"! I never thought I would see justice, and even said "it will take the Army to fix this"
but was sure they never would,  and still to my amazement, that is exactly what has transpired!
 
Wonders will never cease! TIT
 
NS Edited by LivinginKata
Business name removed
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Don't get your hopes up yet.

The back-sliding has begun.

 

They keep saying that their next target is Patong, but, nothing has happened.

Illegal taxis at Ao Makam are refusing to become meter taxis and want to become green-plate.

And so it goes on......

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I've said it before, I applaud the military for tackling this issue. But it will not change. This type of culture will take generations to change, it cannot be done overnight. There is too much resistance. They do have to start somewhere and this is a nice start.
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I've said it before, I applaud the military for tackling this issue. But it will not change. This type of culture will take generations to change, it cannot be done overnight. There is too much resistance. They do have to start somewhere and this is a nice start.

 

Too much resistance, how powerful is their resistance? Is It more powerful than the Thai Army.

 

Having said that, I See a disturbing lull in proceedings, illegal constructions in Phuket were smashed down achieving little more than having the building materials in some sort of upright order to now being strewn all around the landscape.

 

A concerted military effort usually involves a push forward until the job is done, it has stalled and the talking and excuses have begun.  In the meantime the opposing side can reorganise and regain ground. 

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