Phuket taxis: outsiders are undercutting our prices

PHOTO: Phuket taxis complain they are being undercut by taxis from outside the province. (via Expat Life in Thailand)

Operators from outside Phuket are the target of a recent complaint filed by representatives from 30 taxi, van, tuk tuk and bus operators on the island. The association is complaining that outside taxis are invading their province and stealing their tourist customers by undercutting their prices.

The complaint alleges that these outside operators are greatly affecting the income of local drivers. The official filing was done at the Phuket Provincial Ombudsman’s Office at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

The president of the Vehicle Operators Association 30 Phuket Province partnered with the president of the Bus Operators Association 30 Phuket Province to present the complaint. It was received officially by Phuket Vice Governor Anupap Rodkwan Yodrambam and the Chief of the Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office.

The association representing the Phuket drivers is officially registered and represents drivers of more than 300 buses, vans, and tuk tuks. The president explained the need for the group and their complaint as Thailand is finally recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“[The association was formed] to develop, promote and assist and the exchange of knowledge among non-regular taxi operators in Phuket to meet safety standards for tourists who come to use them. Now that the situation is beginning to improve, ‘capitalists’ [sic] from outside the area are gradually bringing their vehicles [into Phuket] to serve tourists.”

Their phrasing “non-regular taxi operators” is referring to public transport vehicles and ones that are not registered with yellow license plates, the designation for official taxis in Thailand. The association represents taxi drivers that use green license plates, which are those licensed for business, rental services, or transporting tourists specifically.

Operators in Phuket finally have healthy tourist numbers to transport and are complaining that outsiders are coming onto the island and undercutting them, charging lower prices than the local taxis do. The device governor vowed to work with local agencies to try to find a resolution. The aim is to avoid future problems and escalations between local and outside operators.

But, it’s unclear if there’s any law or regulation that would prevent a taxi driver based outside of Phuket from coming onto the island and picking up customers in Phuket. Still, the president of the association asked for mercy.

“The association discussed this and agreed that we are to ask for kindness and mercy from the relevant government agencies in the province, to help find a way to help Phuket business operators or protect their rights as much as they can, as these are people who live in Phuket, so Phuket people can earn an income and feed their families.”

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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