Connect with us


OPINION: Tuk-tuks clearly a bane to Phuket tourism



PHUKET: The past week saw the launch of the Gazette’s new readers’ forum that allows readers to post their comments on news stories. The interactive feature was an instant hit, with more than 120 comments in three days on a single story: the demand by a group of tuk-tuk drivers for a bigger slice of the transport pie at a popular Phuket resort.

Response to the story was overwhelmingly one-sided; as of this morning, not a single person has expressed sympathy for the drivers or supported them in any way. Rather, readers used the forum to charge the various transport organizations on the island with greed, collusion, price-fixing, aggressiveness, dangerous driving, illegally monopolizing public parking spaces – and more.

The general consensus seemed to be that the existing public transport system is keeping away tourists who would otherwise visit the island, unfairly costing the entire Phuket tourism industry untold millions – billions perhaps – in lost revenue.

Some noted that even Pattaya – a city famous for its jao por (‘godfather figures’) – was able to set up a successful, reasonably-priced public bus service suitable for tourists years ago.

The public transport situation in Bangkok, once a chaotic mess, has improved by leaps and bounds over the last 20 years, because free market forces and respect for the law have been allowed to prevail there.

Among the readers’ suggestions for solving the problem were setting up new public transport options, similar to the pink songthaews and green buses that will take riders just about anywhere in Phuket City for ten baht. And the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization that runs the Phuket City bus service says it would like to set up a similar route linking Phuket and Karon – but don’t expect it to happen any time soon.

Back in 1994, the last time someone applied for a private concession to run songthaews between Patong and Karon, the driver was pulled from the vehicle and badly beaten after just a few days. In the ensuing 15 years, nobody has applied for the route – even though the Transport Office has said many times it is still there for the taking.

Not all tuk-tuk drivers are bad. There are two sides to every story and the one-sided response to this latest one may to some degree reflect the Gazette readership demographic. Nevertheless, the latest incident and the huge public outcry over it should serve as a wake-up call to agencies, including the Tourist Police and Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Scores of the comments in our forum, from residents and tourists alike, urge government action.

Next year should see the opening of a new provincial bus terminal in Koh Kaew. Let’s hope the relevant authorities use that occasion to finally take steps to give everyone the public transport options they need and deserve. Residents are residents, and the tourists are, after all, our guests.

— Stephen Michael Fein


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:

Video8 hours ago

Timeline of the mass shooting in Thailand

Crime9 hours ago

Finnish CEO detained for alleged mistreatment of 1,100 Thai berry pickers

Thailand9 hours ago

Thailand News Today | No drugs detected in system of daycare center killer

Sponsored17 hours ago

5 reasons why Thailand educators shouldn’t miss Bett Asia in Bangkok this year

Myanmar9 hours ago

Burmese junta sentences Japanese journalist for sedition and other charges

Thailand10 hours ago

Thai woman & foreign men charged for child sex trafficking in Pattaya

Guides10 hours ago

10 strange laws to be aware of in Thailand

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand10 hours ago

Love rat Thai soldier threaten’s Israeli husband of adulterous wife

Best of10 hours ago

Outstanding halal restaurants in Bangkok

Pattaya10 hours ago

Pattaya dwellers want public restrooms built faster at pier

Thailand10 hours ago

No Buddhist temples willing to cremate body of daycare centre killer

Phuket11 hours ago

AI upgrade planned for pier in Phuket

Medical11 hours ago

When snakes strike, why not call for the chicken-ass squad?

Crime11 hours ago

Massacre in Thailand: No drugs detected in system of daycare centre killer

Thailand12 hours ago

Woman’s body in suitcase identified as Lao millionaire

Crime12 hours ago

Massacre in Thailand raises questions on gun control

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