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Airport limo problem gets committee treatment

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Airport limo problem gets committee treatment | The Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: The problem of transportation at Phuket International Airport has been dumped into the laps of at least 10 ad-hoc committees, who have been given the vaguest of briefs – to discuss solutions to the problem – and no deadline to report back with their conclusions.

The decision to set up the committees was made at a public meeting at Phuket City’s Community Center Hall on August 5. Standing by to keep the peace were some 100 police officers, special police and police volunteers.

Having their say were representatives from meter-taxi companies, tuk-tuk drivers, limousine cooperatives, “black” (unlicensed) taxi drivers, the Phuket Tourism Association, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Region 4, the Phuket Transportation Office, Phuket International Airport, members of the Phuket Provincial Council, other government officials and representatives of travel industry businesses.

Others outside watched the proceedings via closed-circuit TV.

At the hearing, Utai Suksirisompan, a consultant to the Airport Limousine and Business Service Cooperative Ltd, said that Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura should look at the cause of the problem and try to find the best solution.

Pattanapong Aikwanich, President of the Phuket Tourism Association, was rather more precise. He said although many tourists might enjoy the feeling of riding in a private car, there have been numerous complaints that limousine fares were too high.

“We have to consider whether or not the airport has enough taxis. If so, then we should not increase the number of meter taxis.

“I don’t think we should increase the number of metered taxis, but instead allow the limousine and [black] taxi drivers to switch to driving metered taxis. Customers can decide for themselves which transport service they want to use,” K. Pattanapong added.

In any case, Gov Udomsak’s original plan to have hundreds of meter taxis plying Phuket’s roads may take some time to realize. The representative of the Provincial Transportation Office told the meeting that only four people had registered meter taxi companies, providing a total of 20 vehicles between them. Another 21 meter taxis are registered to individuals, making a total of only 41 registered meter taxis on the entire island.

Suwalai Pinpradab, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Region 4, noted that the TAT had received many letters of complaint, both in Thai and in English, about transportation services in Phuket.

The current common complaint is about minibus drivers taking their passengers from the airport to a tour company on the bypass road where staff try to pressure them into buying a tour package that includes transportation direct to their hotel.

The public hearing concluded with the setting-up of committees to consider the problem. Committee members include Phuket Senator Paiboon Upatising, representatives from 10 limousine cooperatives in Phuket, officials from the Phuket International Airport, police from all three districts, provincial officials, the TAT, the Phuket Tourism Association, members of the Provincial Council, and others.

The decision to bury the problem in numerous committees follows a tense meeting on July 29 when the Governor was besieged by angry limousine drivers who blocked his car, preventing him from leaving Provincial Hall to go to lunch.

This time, in sharp contrast, some of the limousine drivers tried to hand Gov Udomsak bouquets of flowers. “What are these for?” he asked, before declining to accept them.



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Phuket

Slow loris released back into Phuket forest

The Thaiger

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Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Department of National Parks

Officers from of the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Area have helped in the release of a slow loris back into the wild yesterday.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation reports that the head of Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Area, Pongchart Chueahom, yesterday released the slow loris to the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Are in Thalang.

The slow loris was found near a furniture factory in Thalang last week. It was being treated at a pet hospital before being handed over to Khun Pongchart when it was ready to be set free.

Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | News by The Thaiger Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Seastead structure dragged back to shore by Royal Thai Navy

The Thaiger

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Seastead structure dragged back to shore by Royal Thai Navy | The Thaiger

A floating seastead has today been towed by a naval vessel back to the Port of Phuket in Cape Panwa. Meanwhile the Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam is challenging the owners and builders of the structure to take the Thai Government and Navy to the International Court of Justice.

The Royal Thai Navy’s Third Fleet ventured out with a group of reporters on Saturday to inspect the floating seastead, the first of about 20 planned Ocean Builders for the open waters about 22km from Phuket’s Koh Racha Yai.

Nothing valuable was found on board the octagon-shaped steel and aluminium structure which was attached to a floating platform.

Two vessels were used in today’s operation. The living quarters were detached and placed on the first vessel and the second towed the floating platform to the shore for safe keeping pending legal action against its owner as well as the builder, Ocean Builders Company.

Dr. Wissanu said yesterday that Thai authorities were authorised to remove or dismantle the floating housing unit with or without the consent of its owner after finding the structure could pose a threat to Thai national security and sovereignty in accordance with Article 119 of the Criminal Code.

He said that the structure also posed an obstacle to vessels and was located not far from an oil rig.

Regarding the threat by Ocean Builders Company to sue the Thai government in the International Court of Justice for the removal, the deputy PM says he welcomes the move, noting that no government anywhere would allow a seastead settlement near their maritime territory.

Seasteader Chad Andrew Edwartowski and his Thai wife, Mrs. Nadia Summergirl, are wanted by the Thai police for questioning after Thai immigration revoked the American’s non-immigrant visa and blacklisted him.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Phuket

Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung

The Thaiger

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Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phattalung Rescue

Two people have sustained serious injuries after a Phuket taxi slammed into a tree in Phattalung last night.

Phattalung rescue workers were notified of the accident in Mueang Pattalung District at 7.57pm last night (Sunday).

They arrived at the scene to find the Phuket registered taxi resting in front of the big tree on the side of the road near a temple. The front of the vehicle had extensive damage following the collision.

The two people who sustained serious injuries were 58 year old Wanchai Srithong and 64 year old Jamras Srithong. They were both taken to the Phattalung Hospital.

Pattalung City Police are continuing their investigation. There has been no explanation given at this stage as to why a Phuket taxi was in Phattalung.

Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | News by The Thaiger Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | News by The Thaiger

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