PHUKET: In a bid to lower taxi fares on the island Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop is lobbying to reduce fees for taxis operating out of Phuket International Airport (PIA).
Land Transport Department director Kanok Siripanichkorn told the Gazette today that Gov Wichai sent a letter to Airports of Thailand (AoT) management in Bangkok requesting a meeting by the end of the month with those responsible for setting concession charges.
Gov Wichai is seeking an explanation as to why the rates are so high and wants to discuss the possibility of a reduction.
Two concessionaires currently operate booths inside the PIA terminal.
Phuket Airport Limousine and Business Cooperative Ltd (PBC) has 150 vehicles and pays 1.3 million baht monthly to AoT, while rival operator Phuket Mai Khao Sakoo has 110 vehicles and pays 900,000 baht monthly.
There are also 62 metered taxis currently operating out of the airport parking lot. All passengers hiring metered taxis there are required to pay an extra 100 baht fare, pushing the price of a typical journey to Patong to 420 baht.
The Meter Taxi Association paid 70,000 baht in monthly concessions to AoT when it started and its fee is still under 100,000 baht, according to an informed source.
Among the many associations seeking a reduction in the concessions is the Phuket Chamber of Commerce (PCC), which wants taxi concession fees at PIA cut in half.
PCC President Dr Sirichai Silapa-archa late last month described the current fees as ‘excessive’ and charged Airports of Thailand (AoT) with driving up fares across Phuket.
Speaking at a provincial economic committee meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall, Dr Sirichai also said the introduction of meters on all hired vehicles in Phuket was essential to boost the local tourism industry.
“In Phuket there are no standard fares, so taxi and tuk-tuk rides are expensive. This makes getting around inconvenient and makes tourists and other passengers feel they are being unfairly treated,” he said.
Dr Sirichai said a committee should be established to determine and implement an appropriate fare structure.
The panel should should include Land Transport Department officials as well as operators and users, including resorts and other tourism businesses, he said.
Also at the meeting was Phuket Provincial Administration Organization president Paiboon Upatising, who said he agreed with Dr Sirichai on meters and the need for AoT to slash its rates.
“These should be top priorities,” he said.
PBC President Chukiat Panyawai said friends working at Chiang Mai Airport told him rates in Phuket were far more expensive than in the northern city .
“If the AoT agreed to reduce fees by 50%, that would be great. Then we could talk about lower prices for passengers and everyone would be happy,” he said.
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