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Phuket tuk-tuk fares in the firing line

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PHUKET: A provincial committee set up to find a solution to the old problem of tuk-tuk drivers overcharging tourists in Phuket will start by setting a maximum 200 baht charge for any tuk-tuk journey within Patong.

The committee, chaired by Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha, met at Phuket Provincial Hall earlier today.

Also in attendance were committee members Vice Governor Weerawat Janpen, Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office Chief Kanok Siripanichkorn, Patong Taxi Federation President Preechavude “Prab” Keesin, Kathu District Chief Siriphat Phathakul, and Kathu Traffic Police Chief Lt Col Jakkawat Boontawegunsawat.

The committee members agreed to set a maximum fare of 200 baht for tuk-tuk travel within Patong, as well as standard fares from Jungceylon to various destinations on the island.

A few samples of the rates from a list distributed at the meeting showed the following:

Airport: 800 baht (one way); 1,500 baht (round trip)

Laguna: 600 baht (one way); 1,100 baht (round trip)

Karon Beach: 300 baht (one way); 600 baht (round trip)

Phuket Town: 500 baht (one way); 600 baht (round trip)

Phuket Deep Sea Port: 650 baht (one way); 1,200 baht (round trip)

A total of 43 locations were included on the list.

Mr Prab said members of his Patong Taxi Federation, which comprises about 85% of service vehicles in Patong, would abide by the rates.

For taxi and tuk-tuk trips within Patong the drivers would also agree to charge a maximum of 200 baht, but with the option to charge extra on a per head basis if the number of passengers exceeded four.

“Tourists aren’t too concerned with the fare from Patong to different parts of Phuket, but they are concerned that rides in Patong can range from 100 baht to 300 baht. For this reason we will set 200 baht as the maximum, allowing passengers and drivers to continue to negotiate rates for shorter journeys,” said Mr Prab, who also happens to be the son of Patong Mayor Pian Keesin.

Describing Patong as a “model”, Gov Tri said similar standard fares would eventually apply across the island.

“I aim to have all Phuket taxi drivers charge tourists the same standard fare, but it will fail if we try to force them all at the same time. So let’s start at one location and extend to different areas later,” he said.

Mr Prab predicted that drivers who charged more than the standard rates would lose passengers.

“This will cause all drivers to charge the same fares in the near future. If any drivers overcharge after February 9, please phone in a report to our call center, which will go into service as soon as we determine which is the most memorable number to use,” he said.

The fare chart and explanation of services will be posted on Patong Municipality’s noticeboard before February 9.

This date is also the date the committee will convene again, this time meeting with drivers’ representatives and trying to convince them to adopt standard rates.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan

 

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