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New official fees to curb tuk-tuk ripoffs

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PHUKET: An official scale of fees based on kilometers travelled will be imposed on tuk-tuks from June 1 to curb overcharging of tourists. In some cases, the official fares are half what tuk-tuk drivers have been demanding. A trip from Phuket Town to Patong (15 km) will cost 200 baht, while the 32 km from Patong to the airport will cost 320 baht. The move continues the transport revolution in Phuket that recently saw metered taxis and public buses introduced. Prasit Amalapal, chief of the Phuket Transportation Office, told the Gazette that Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi was responding to visitors’ complaints. “Sometimes the tourists would like to go only 100 meters, but the tuk-tuk charges them 100 baht,” he said. The new scale was “a fair rate that we will be posting on every tuk-tuk.” The rates will be prominently displayed in Thai and English and all of Phuket’s 1,200 tuk-tuks will be numbered. Teerayout Prasertphol, Chief Analyst of the Phuket Transportation Office, told the Gazette that he had already met the tuk-tuk drivers. “We had a committee checking on this rate,” he said. “We calculated the charge from the taxi cost and times and distance, plus living costs.” Tuk-tuk drivers who fail to display the new fares could be fined 1,000 baht, although the fine at first will be only 200 baht. Drivers and tuk-tuk companies who overcharge could be fined up to 5,000 baht. “I’ve heard that the tuk-tuk drivers will protest,” he added, “but the law is the law and it will destroy tourism in Phuket if they charge too much.”

 

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