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Phuket Governor faces taxi doubleheader at Phuket International airport



PHUKET: Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut was met en masse late yesterday by the drivers of a second taxi company after having already been dragged to Phuket International Airport due to an all-night vigil held by the illegal taxi drivers of Mook Andaman co-operative outside his official residence Tuesday night (story here).

After concluding his meeting with Mook Andaman, with no progress made, Governor Maitri held another – unscheduled – meeting with a different group of disgruntled taxi drivers, those who work for Phuket Airport Limousine and Business Cooperative Ltd (PBC).

Having gotten wind that Gov Maitri would be at the airport, PBC drivers flocked to the facility at about 4:15pm.

With about 40 vans and taxis, the PBC drivers blocked four of the five lanes in the passenger pick-up area in front of the arrivals hall to prove that they, too, were serious.

“We heard that the Governor had a meeting with Mook Andaman today so we gathered to ask him to resolve our problem also,” said one PBC driver who declined to give his name. “Even though we signed the MoU [Memorandum of Understanding], we cannot pick up passengers at the airport,” he said.

Long-time concessionaire PBC is one of the three operators that were granted a concession by the Airports of Thailand (AOT) to legally operate at the airport.

The PBC group, who operate metered taxis, vans and green plate taxis at the airport, complained to Gov Maitri that their metered taxis had been stopped by airport security and their passengers had been forced to disembark.

Despite the protest of the legal taxi operators of PBC over their troubles, Mook Andaman drivers were able to schedule another meeting with Gov Maitri.

“A meeting to solve the Mook Andaman issue will be held again this Friday at 8:45am,” said Jaturong Kaewkasi of the Phuket Land Transportation Office.

— Saran Mitrarat


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