Roving metered taxis to hit Phuket’s streets by September

PHUKET: A fleet of newly registered roving metered taxis will be hitting the streets by September 1, the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) chief told the Phuket Gazette today.

“We registered 80 metered taxi drivers during our one-stop registration service from August 9-12 [story here]. Since then, more than 30 additional drivers have applied to register and become metered taxi drivers,” said PLTO Chief Terayout Prasertphol.

“Metered taxis will operate as those in Bangkok do. They will drive around the island looking for fares. We have not set aside anywhere for them to park.”

Mr Terayout told the Gazette that the PLTO has a meeting planned with the military at the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command base at Cape Panwa tomorrow to work out the final details of the metered taxi launch.

A crackdown on any black-plate taxis found operating on the island will be launched on September 1, confirmed Col Somchai Ponatong of the Army’s 41st Military Circle.

“Any illegal taxi drivers caught operating on the island will be arrested and charged,” Col Somchai told the Gazette today.

“There are 2,882 black-plate taxis in Phuket. We must clear all of them out. If we are able to rid the island of black-plate taxis by converting them to metered taxis, the taxi problem will end.”

Illegal taxi drivers caught on or after September 1 will be charged with operating a commercial transportation service without permission and using a private vehicle for commercial purposes, explained Col Somchai.

Col Somchai also noted that taxi drivers are able to register for green plates, but only under two conditions.

“The green plate taxis must have an agreement with, and register through, a hotel. They will not have permission to pick up customers on the street,” said Col Somchai.

“For example, the taxi can pick up a customer from a hotel and take them to the airport. The driver must drop the passenger off at the airport and return immediately to the hotel, with no stops or customers in between.”

— Woranut Pechdee

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