Connect with us


A Decade Ago: Airport taxis at it again

Legacy Phuket Gazette



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

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


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:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Expert says Delta Plus could be up to 15% more transmissible than Delta Covid variant

Thailand10 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Dirty medical gloves, Thailand defends spending 100m on New year celebrations | Oct. 26

Thailand10 hours ago

Digital platforms to be subject to new regulations following draft decree

Sponsored11 hours ago

Don’t wait!! Book your berth or booth at the Thailand International Boat Show

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Bangkok10 hours ago

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport prepares for November reopening

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 7,706 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand11 hours ago

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha addresses Southeast Asia leaders at 38th ASEAN summit

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand14 hours ago

November reopening concerns majority of Thais, Department of Health survey shows

Thailand14 hours ago

British divers say they risked arrest for giving boys ketamine during cave rescue

World15 hours ago

US President Biden to join ASEAN summit as leaders poised to discuss key regional issues

Thailand17 hours ago

Prayut orders investigation into used medical gloves exported to the US

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

Health officials play down concerns over Thailand’s first case of Delta Plus variant

Bangkok17 hours ago

Chulalongkorn students drop royal parade on grounds it promotes “authoritarianism”

Thailand17 hours ago

Thailand Top Stories | TAT explains entry for travelers outside quarantine exemption list | October 26

Phuket18 hours ago

Thai PM defends plan to spend 100 million baht on New Year’s Eve celebrities

Tourism18 hours ago

Government’s domestic tour package subsidy receives lukewarm response

Thailand1 month ago

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

Thailand8 months ago

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

Tourism8 months ago

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

Phuket8 months ago

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

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

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

Tourism8 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand10 months ago

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

Thailand10 months ago

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

Thailand10 months ago

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

Thailand10 months ago

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