Connect with us

Opinion

PHUKET OPINION: Thanks, but more airport taxis not needed

Published

 on 

PHUKET: The compromise agreement ending the latest dispute between rival taxi concessionaires at Phuket International Airport (PIA) may appease both sides in the short term, but allowing 60 more vans and ‘limousine’ taxis onto airport grounds as the low season sets in will only worsen conditions at the airport in upcoming months.

Airports of Thailand (AOT), which runs the airport, has come under increased scrutiny in recent months for the high rates it charges Phuket Airport Limousine and Business Cooperative Ltd (PBC) and Phuket Mai Khao Sakoo (PMK) for the right to run booking counters inside the arrivals terminal and pick up fares outside the doors.

A public company majority owned by the Ministry of Finance, AOT collects over 2.2 million baht monthly from PBC and PMK and rakes in a bit more from the the Airport Metered Taxi Association, which is allowed to operate its fleet from the parking lot.

Ultimately paying for the unnecessary additional vehicles are Phuket’s tourists, and, to a lesser extent, local residents, to whom the taxi operators pass on the concession fees in the form of higher fares, already the highest in Thailand.

AOT does have big plans for the airport, but as a public company with virtually no competition it enjoys a wide variety of golden revenue streams unimaginable in the private sector.

Where else can you get away with charging 70 baht (US$2.15) for a thumb-sized ‘baby Mars bar’ or a 15-baht can of Coke?

According to the AOT website, the company and its subsidiaries reported total operating revenues of over 6.2 billion baht for the first quarter of fiscal 2010 alone, an increase of more than 20 percent over the same period last year.

Given these figures and the fact that AOT is a public company – majority owned by the people of Thailand – it should consider the sizable negative impact its concession fees are having on the (tourism-based) Phuket economy as a whole.

The issues involved go well beyond economics.

First impressions are important in tourism, and there is nothing more off-putting to the first-time tourist than the shouts and furtive mumblings of hordes of touts in a desperate bid for business.

Sadly, AOT’s decision to add even more vehicles – 30  vans and 30 limousine taxis – will only add to the touts’ numbers as well, further worsening congestion in both the arrivals hall and the parking lot – while doing nothing to bring down fares to reasonable, free-market rates.

AOT’s current expansion plan for PIA, with 5.8 billion baht in Cabinet-approved funding in 2009, aims to expand capacity from 6.5 million to 12.5 million passengers annually.

This is an ambitious figure that will only be attained if AOT plays an important role in helping to ensure that a holiday in Phuket is a positive, value-for-money experience that visitors will want to repeat – and not just an institutionalized ripoff.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Video12 mins ago

Thailand News Today | 9 year olds smoke cannabis on Pattaya Beach in Thailand

Economy1 hour ago

Thai baht soars to six-month high against US dollar

Pattaya1 hour ago

Motorcycle taxi riders rally against unlicensed ride-share app drivers in Pattaya

Sponsored9 hours ago

Where you can get cannabis in Bangkok

Pollution2 hours ago

Over 100 tonnes of garbage estimated near Phuket Fishing Port

Thailand2 hours ago

Stop giving monkeys cigarettes, beg locals in Lop Buri, Thailand

Thailand2 hours ago

World Cup broadcasting soap opera drama rumbles on

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Transport2 hours ago

Thai Vietjet plans new routes to China, India, Japan, Vietnam

Crime3 hours ago

Police arrest weight loss pill executive for causing 4 deaths in Thailand

Phang Nga3 hours ago

Phang Nga officials find more leatherback turtle eggs

Tourism3 hours ago

Thai AirAsia Melbourne and Sydney connections take to the air

Bangkok4 hours ago

Fireworks to dazzle Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River area on New Year’s Eve

Medical4 hours ago

Resurgence of AIDS in Thailand overshadows UNAIDS summit

Phuket4 hours ago

Thai VietJet cancels Phuket – Bangkok flight last minute over 1 extra passenger

Food5 hours ago

Thailand’s top cheesemaker toasts his own success

Crime5 hours ago

New details unfolding over alleged assault by Pattaya loan sharks

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending