Connect with us


A Decade Ago: Airport taxis at it again



PHUKET: As Phuket continues to stumble through the fog of beach rules following the National Council for Peace and Order’s cleanup last year, it is refreshing to look back on simpler times at Patong Beach. Just a decade ago, as the island geared up for its first high season after the tsunami, a total of 1,000 masseuses rolled out beach mats and got to work on 1,000 tourists for what was reportedly the world’s longest massage. There is something striking about the photo; no beach umbrellas, chairs or loungers. And despite the presence of more than 2,000 people on the beach, it looks beautiful.

The lead story, however, has nothing to do with the picture on page one. It is, in fact, that masochistic, perhaps even necrophilic, dead horse that just keeps on keeping on: airport taxis.

Ah… yes, even with the taxi mafia allegedly being swept up in island-wide raids last year, the issues of taxis to and from the airport continues to rage on. Nonetheless, the November 5-11 issue of the Phuket Gazette marked an important step forward: meter taxis were to be granted a desk inside the arrival hall of Phuket International Airport and three cabs at a time were given room to park outside the hall – the sacred territory of the island’s airport limousines. Of course, how many years it took to get the metered taxi drivers to use their meters was a completely different issue.

Then-Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura took a strong stance at the time, saying he wasn’t worried about limousine driver protests – something that nearly every governor since has had to face for one reason or another – as his main concern was that tourists and other airline passengers should have a fair selection of transportation options in Phuket… what were we saying about dead horses again? [See support for GrabTaxi, monorail, yellow-roofed tuk-tuks, roaming metered taxis and the list goes on… yet traffic congestion congeals and personal transport options remain everyone’s primary way of moving throughout the island.]

In a slightly different power struggle on the island, Kamala Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor) president pushed to take over the enormous re-development and beautification of the area from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), which appeared to be struggling to deliver on the multi-million baht projects in Patong and Kamala. The budgets for the two projects, originally a robust amount of 1.35 billion baht, were slashed back by the Budget Bureau to 291.6 mn baht. To compound the problem, locals in Kamala seemed to be questioning whether or not the TAT was the best agency to carry out the project at all.

“If the TAT can’t do any better than this, we should do the project ourselves. That way the whole job will get done instead of only half of it,” said OrBorTor President Jaran Sanrak. “I want Kamala to recover. If we can’t get it done immediately, then that’s alright, we can get it done more slowly, but the one thing I don’t want to see is the plans and the funds disappearing because we didn’t act fast enough.”

In stark contrast, Patong Mayor Pian Keesin – who died shortly after being removed from office for alleged voter fraud (again) last year – was very happy with the development of Loma Park and the rest of the party town. He did put in a bid for underground power lines, but a quick glance out of any Patong hotel window at the rats’ nests of electrical wires shows where that idea went.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli


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:

Thailand12 hours ago

Woman goes bananas after children steal her fruit and sues them for 24,000 baht

China12 hours ago

China says Covid has weakened as it announces loosening of strict policies

Thailand12 hours ago

Dog carries baby’s corpse out of a forest in eastern Thailand

Sponsored2 days ago

Top 5 Backlink Agencies in Bangkok for Your Business

Events13 hours ago

Travis Scott to headline Rolling Loud Thailand festival

Thailand13 hours ago

9 year old boy rescued after falling into 2-metre deep well

Thailand13 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Sexy Thai model exposed as an identity thief and transwoman

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
South13 hours ago

Whale washes up on beach in South Thailand

Transport13 hours ago

Last jumbo – the last Boeing 747 leaves the gate

Weather13 hours ago

Bangkok could hit lows of 18°C next week

Thailand13 hours ago

Geminids meteor shower predicted to hit Thailand on December 14 

Crime14 hours ago

Kuwaiti overstayer busted in Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand

Thailand14 hours ago

What next for Bali as Indonesia bans sex?

Thailand14 hours ago

Jailed politician erects billboard to wish voters Happy New Year

Thailand14 hours ago

Beastly reptile crocs the world of small village in southern Thailand

Pattaya15 hours ago

Pattaya officials continue to struggle with homeless problem

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