Connect with us


Drive to break transport “mafia’ launched



PHUKET: In an attempt to improve public transport on the island, Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura has announced his support for a new project aimed at putting hundreds of metered taxis on Phuket roads and launching an Airport Bus service.

On April 1, the Governor presided over the launch of the “Taxi Phuket Development Project” at Central Festival, during which he also announced the introduction of a new 52-baht minibus service between Phuket City and the airport.

The 30-seat minibus, to go into service in about three months’ time, will stop at four locations: Surakul Stadium on Wichit-Songkram Road; Tesco-Lotus; the Heroines’ Monument and Pranangsang Temple on Thepkrasattri Rd, in Thalang.

The new taxis are station wagons with seating for seven and more luggage room than the standard metered taxis. Built by Bangkok-based car manufacturer Thairung Union Car (TUC), the “Thai Rung Bangkok Limousine Express” vehicles have Isuzu 3,000cc engines and are available for purchase at 920,000 baht on a low-interest instalment plan through the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank (SME Bank).

Prospective buyers can set themselves up as taxi drivers for a down payment of 229,000 baht, paying off the balance over a five-year period at just 5% interest. No collateral is required, though buyers must have a personal guarantor.

Theerayuth Prasertphol, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Transportation Office (PPTO), told the Gazette today that the taxi fare will be 50 baht for the first two kilometers, then 7 baht per kilometer thereafter.

While this is more expensive than metered taxi fares in Bangkok, the 20km trip between Patong and Phuket City, for example, would cost 176 baht – about half what most tuk-tuks currently demand for the same journey.

K. Theerayuth added that the metered-taxi registration process takes one day and costs less than 2,000 baht.

At the launch, Gov Udomsak said he would like to see public transport in Phuket improve and provide more options for tourists.

“Currently we have only about 20 metered taxis. I would like eventually to see all black-plate [illegal] taxis become registered. We also want to add more metered taxis,” he said.

While admitting that competition for passengers between limousine and metered taxi drivers at the airport was still a problem, he said that officials would be fair in mediating any disputes that arose from the introduction of new taxis.

“Some metered taxis in Phuket are still barred from picking up passengers at certain hotels. We would like them to be able to collect fares from anywhere on the island. It’s a necessary thing that we must do,” he said, adding that he was willing to take on “influential figures” to make it so.

Gov Udomsak encouraged Patong tuk-tuk drivers whose vehicles were damaged by the the tsunami to switch over to metered taxis, and also encouraged black-plate taxi drivers to take advantage of the SME loans and operate legally.

Virat Kulsri, Assistant Managing Director of TUC, said that more than 100 people in Phuket had already expressed interest in buying and operating the new taxis, three of which are already in service in Chiang Mai.

“I think this model is appropriate for Phuket because it can seat more passengers and luggage. The cars are efficient and safe. They run on diesel, getting about 16km per liter, and all seats are equipped with safety belts.

“Owners should be able to collect between 2,500 baht and 4,000 baht a day in fares – enough to pay off the SME loans, which work out to 477 baht per day,” he said.


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.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Economy21 mins ago

After poor South Koreans die in flooded basement home, will there be change?

Thailand1 hour ago

10 Unique Superstitions of Thai People

Weather2 hours ago

Tropical storm ‘Mulan’ makes a splash in the north of Thailand

Sponsored2 days ago

BKFC THAILAND 3: Moment of truth set for September 3

Patong3 hours ago

Fire breaks out at Patong bar

Politics5 hours ago

Exiled Sri Lanka President warned to stay in his hotel in Bangkok

World5 hours ago

UPDATE: Salman Rushdie on ventilator, details on stabber emerge

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand6 hours ago

Campaign to get international training for Thai teen declared record sprinter

Crime6 hours ago

Royal birthdays bring over 100,000 royal prison pardons

Video6 hours ago

The Voice Behind the World’s Top Brands ft. Krit Tone Sukawat | Thaiger Podcast Ep.2

Press Room7 hours ago

Thailand as your next destination for Motorcycle Adventure post-COVID

Crime7 hours ago

Singaporean and Thai swindler couple arrested in Malaysia

Crime18 hours ago

Author Salman Rushdie stabbed at New York lecture

Transport23 hours ago

Daily trains begin between Malaysian border and Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Virologist predicts most of Thailand will have had Covid by 2023

Transport1 day ago

Bangkok gets 20 new electric buses next week

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand1 year ago

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

Tourism1 year ago

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

Phuket1 year ago

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

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

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

Tourism1 year 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