The crackdown on illegal taxis – those operating outside their jurisdiction or without proper licenses or permissions – continues in Phuket. Authorities have turned their attention to a new target: foreigners using personal rental cars as taxis.
In response to numerous complaints, Phuket officials launched an investigation into reports of foreign tourists acting as illegal taxi drivers. A joint team of representatives from the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) and the Phuket Provincial Employment Office set up a checkpoint yesterday at the Si Kor Intersection in Kathu. They investigated vehicles headed to Patong Hill.
The Phuket Express spoke with PLTO Chief Atcha Buajan. He confirmed that many reports have been received about foreign tourists renting cars and operating as illegal taxi drivers in Phuket. As a result, additional checkpoints will be established in areas with high tourist traffic to investigate the matter.
Taxi drivers need to be licensed to carry passengers. The cars themselves need to be registered as taxis. And some areas like airports require special permission to pick up fares. But on top of all that, taxi driving in Thailand is a profession reserved only for Thai citizens. Under no circumstance can foreign nationals legally perform this job.
The crackdown on illegal foreign taxi drivers in Phuket comes in the wake of widespread inspections and campaigns to curb illegal taxi problems. The PLTO had run major social media campaigns warning against illegal taxi operations and had acted on many complaints filed.
Yesterday the PLTO and Sakhu Police apprehended four more drivers for illegally operating their vehicles as taxis in Phuket. The joint operation took place at a checkpoint set up at the Sakhu-Nai Yang intersection on Thepkrasattri Rd in Mai Khao
Vice Governor Anupap Rodkwan Yodrambam issued a formal notice ordering all government agencies to act to curb the illegal activity. The order acted on behalf of the Governor of Phuket. The memo instructed the Phuket Provincial Police and the PLTO to consider revoking drivers’ licenses and the vehicle registration of repeat offenders as punishment as required by law.
The PLTO chief encouraged the public to report any illegal taxis. People can call the taxi complaint hotline at 1584. Online the PLTO can be reached through its LINE account @704jhnxb, Facebook page, or the Traffy Fondue application.
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