Connect with us

Phuket

Taxi, tuk-tuk co-ops blame “unfair rules’ for problems

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Taxi, tuk-tuk co-ops blame “unfair rules’ for problems | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly

PHUKET: Groups of tuk-tuk and taxi operators in Phuket blame “unfair regulations” as the underlying cause of most problems faced by tourists who use Phuket’s public transport services.

The accusations were made during a meeting of senior government officials, including Government Spokesperson Prompong Nopparit, at Phuket Provincial Hall on April 27.

Tuk-tuk representative Darun Suksai, the “president” of a consortium of nine tuk-tuk “co-operatives” operating in Phuket, told the meeting there were more than 10,000 tuk-tuks and taxis – legal and illegal – operating in Phuket.

He blamed the illegal operators for the horror stories of tuk-tuk drivers accosting, attacking and ripping off tourists.

“I guarantee that they were not any members of our network. All our tuk-tuks are legal and I always check on the actions of our members,” he said.

To redress the problems, Mr Darun called on Mr Prompong and other relevant officials to listen seriously to the concerns voiced by all tuk-tuk and taxi drivers in Phuket.

This was the only way to solve the transport problems that had been plaguing Phuket for more than a decade, he said.

Mr Darun said of more than 1,000 tuk-tuks in Phuket, 600 were designed to be boarded from the side and all are members of his network. Another 400, which board from the rear, are individually owned.

Nui Kawiset, of the 300-member strong Samakkee tuk-tuk cooperative formed in 2009, said this regulation affected 70 side-entry tuk-tuks in that co-op that were brought in from other provinces.

“We applied for all these vehicles to be registered as tuk-tuks after the new rule was introduced. It costs too much – about 100,000 baht per vehicle – to convert them. So we have to rent tuk-tuks from other operators at 500 baht a day, or 15,000 baht a month,” he said.

CONCESSION DEPRESSION

Nikom Panmee, representing one of the cooperatives that has a concession to operate 180 limousines at Phuket International Airport, blamed the contract with airport operator Airports of Thailand (AOT), a public organization, for being too costly to his members.

“We have served the airport for a long time, but the contract is not fair. Our current concession, which we signed in 2009, lasts three years. In the second year our payments to AOT increased by 10%, and again by 10% in the third year,” he said.

“During the last year of the contract we have to pay 1.7 million baht monthly to AOT. We have asked the airport to reduce the concession fee since 1970. We have also complained to the government and its relevant departments, such as the Ministry of Transport, but we have never received a response.

“The current concession expires on June 30 this year. We don’t know how much the fee will increase after then – that’s up to AOT,” Mr Nikom said.

One airport limousine representative said the high concession fee of 1.4mn baht a month for the co-op he represented boiled down to 13,000 baht being required from each of the 220 vehicles within his co-op.

“We have calculated our expenses. We cannot live on this anymore,” said Mr Nikom.

His organization was well aware of the illegal “black plate” taxis serving passengers at the airport who pay no fees whatsoever, he said.

“We can accept that, but the airport needs to reduce our fee,” he said, adding that if it does not a protest might be inevitable.

“We have been trying to do everything possible to negotiate a more equitable fee, but without success. So if needed, come June 30, as a last resort we will do [what we need to do] by taking our people to force the airport,” Mr Nikom warned.

BLACK PRIDE

Pom Sukkasem, “president” of a group of taxi drivers who operate out of Central Festival Phuket, said, “We have 179 cars with ‘black plates’ [standard cars being illegally operated as taxis] and our alliance with other operators brings the total number of cars [that he represents] to more than 500.

“I”m attending the meeting because I would like to know if there are any policies to solve our problem,” he said.

Simply ridding the island of an estimated 10,000 “black plate” taxi operators would affect thousands of families, up to about 50,000 people in total, who rely on that income, he said.

His organization has fare rates plainly marked on boards for passengers to see before hiring the vehicle, Mr Pom explained.

“And we always stick to the fare, even after midnight. We have not received any complaints for eight years,” he said.

SPREAD THE WEALTH

The pleas for concern found support with Phuket Administration Organization President (OrBorJor) Paiboon Upatising.

“Standard fare rates need to be set for the whole island, and each group of drivers must be involved in setting these fares,” said Mr Paiboon

Premium fare rates for travel after midnight would need to be considered, he said.

“The airport also needs to reduce its concession fees, because they are too high and drive up the cost of everything. They are making more than 100 million baht a year and their staff get nine-month bonuses,” Mr Paiboon added.

MORE MEETINGS

Phuket Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada drew the meeting to a close, saying, “First, we need to invite airport representatives to discuss reduction of concession fees and report the results to Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha.

“Second, Phuket has many taxi groups – both legal and illegal. We will look at what they need,” he added.

“Reports of taxi drivers assaulting tourists is ruining our tourism image. I left Phuket 11 years ago. Since my return, the problem seems to have worsened. Foreign investors always ask me about this problem and when it will be fixed,” Vice Governor Chamroen said.

“Our priority is to have the various groups of taxi driver identify their problems and send representatives to discuss them. Then we can work together to find solutions,” he said.

— Atchaa Khamlo

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Patong, Phuket Town, Chalong to fund residents’ vaccination

The Thaiger

Published

on

Patong, Phuket Town, Chalong to fund residents’ vaccination | The Thaiger

Patong and Phuket Town are planning to fund registered residents’ Covid-19 vaccines, Thai and foreign, with the hope to speed up the inoculation process without waiting for the national government. The mayors of both cities say they have already allocated the funds to move forward with purchasing the vaccines after the government approves which ones may be used.

Like any other municipality in Thailand, the Covid-19 vaccine must be acquired from the Ministry of Public Health. A spokesperson says their office had yet to receive the news on how many doses of the vaccine Phuket could receive or in which order to vaccinate people.

“I don’t want to wait in the queue to get the vaccine budget. Chalong people deserve to receive vaccines. They do not need to pay.”

Chalong officials have confirmed that the Covid vaccines will be freely available to all people registered as living in Chalong Subdistrict, regardless whether the resident is Thai or foreign.

“There are about 20,000 to 30,000 people in Chalong. This includes everyone: Thais, migrant workers and other foreigners registered as living in Chalong, such as retirees and foreigners staying here for other reasons. They will all receive the vaccine.”

Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana has also confirmed to The Phuket News that Phuket City Municipality will also administer free vaccines to the over 79,000 people living in Phuket Town. But he says only people who were registered as living in the city limits at the end of December would be eligible to receive the free vaccines. Chalermluck Kebsup, Mayor of Patong, is also following suit by offering free vaccines to registered residents.

“We deserve to get the vaccine quickly because Phuket is a tourism province, our people depend on tourism.”

It has been 26 days since Phuket had any positive cases of Covid-19, but Chalermluck says a vaccine will curb worries of Covid spreading.

“The vaccine is our hope in stopping this fear. If local residents receive the vaccine as quickly as possible, I think people will be more confident in receiving domestic tourists. Then businesses can run.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Transport

Phuket police confirm speed limit of bypass road after locals complain

The Thaiger

Published

on

Phuket police confirm speed limit of bypass road after locals complain | The Thaiger

Phuket police are confirming the island’s bypass road speed limit as 50 kilometres per hour. That is, despite years of back and forth between motorists and the law. The latest announcement comes after locals posted online copies of their speeding tickets, which showed the confirmed limit. The stretch of road, almost the only stretch of road where you could get a car up to 100 kph, has long been a speedway for cars, trucks and vans.

The reason they are complaining is due to the fact that they say they were under the impression that speeding tickets would only be given to those caught exceeding 100 kilometres per hour along the bypass. They say police have assured for years that this would be the case.

Phuket City Traffic Police Deputy Chief Rungrit Rattanaphakdee says that normally motorists are allowed to drive up to 80 kilometres per hour on municipality roads but the bypass road’s speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour.

“Although drivers of private cars and motorbikes can drive not over 80 kilometres per hour on municipality roads in accordance with the Road Traffic Act B.E. 2522, all drivers must follow the 50 kilometres per hour signs installed along the bypass road.”

But his interpretation of the law contradicts a statement in 2015 by former Phuket Highways Office Chief Samak Liedwonghat and Teerawat Liamsakun, who was Phuket City Police Chief at the time. Samak said back then, that the signs with a white background and red circle are advisory only. In other words, not mandatory. Teerawat also concurred with Samak, in 2015, by saying that the signs were advisory only but warned that drivers may have an accident if they don’t comply with the advisory speed limit on the signs.

“Actually, speed is limited by law on this road [the bypass road] to 80 kilometres per hour in tessabaan (municipal) areas and 90 kilometres per hour in other parts. Our speed cameras are set to detect vehicles going faster than 100. Anyone caught going faster than that risks receiving a speeding ticket in the mail.”

Now, Rungrit says the speed limit is mandatory but motorists would not be issued tickets by the speed cameras unless motorists’ speeds were higher than 100 kilometres per hour.

Locals say they are still confused as they say Rungrit didn’t respond as to why the motorists were being ticketed when travelling under 100 kilometres per hour as he maintains that fines are only given to those going over 100 kilometres per hour. The photos of the tickets showed most of those ticketed to be travelling at speeds of 90-99 kilometres per hour, which directly contradicts Rungrit’s new interpretation of the law.

“….So far we have had tickets issued only to the drivers who drove faster than 100 kilometres per hour.”

“The signs are there to remind drivers to drive carefully under the speed limit, as normally drivers drive very fast on the road, leading to accidents.”

“We are trying to use technology to charge drivers’ behaviour, so we use speed cameras and have tickets sent to their homes. As you can see, we never set up any checkpoint along the bypass road, except during the long holidays.”

To be clear, Rungrit says the bypass road speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour, but you may be ticketed if your speed exceeds 100 kilometres per hour. That is, despite locals receiving tickets for going 90-99 kilometres per hour.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Thailand

UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions

Caitlin Ashworth

Published

on

UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions | The Thaiger

UPDATE: Khaosod English removed a story on Covid-19 tests for those seeking visa extensions and replaced it with the article “Immigration backtracks on plan to require Covid-19 test for visa extensions.” They say the previous report sparked uproar among expats and immigration police spokesperson has since apologised for the misunderstanding.

Original article…

Confusion reigns today over whether Covid-19 tests will be required for visa extensions. While The Phuket News spoke with an immigration official who said “no… you don’t need a Covid-19 test to extend your visa or apply for a work permit”, Khaosod English wrote an article headlined “Covid-19 test will be mandatory for all visa extension”.

The Thaiger also contacted a respected visa agent who said Covid-19 tests are, indeed, now required for applying for both visa extensions and work permits, even renewals.

The Thai Immigration Bureau has not made any official announcement regarding Covid-19 tests. Talk about Covid-19 tests for foreigners was brought up after a rule was published in the Royal Gazette last month, officially adding Covid-19 to a list of dangerous diseases, prohibiting those infected with any of the listed illnesses from entering the country.

Immigration Police Bureau spokesperson Archayon Kraithong told Khaosod English that proof of a negative Covid-19 test will be required for visa extensions, regardless of how long a foreigner has stayed in Thailand. On the other hand, Phuket immigration deputy chief Nareuwat Putthawiro told The Phuket News that Covid-19 tests will not be required for visa extensions or work permit applications.

“We do not require any medical documents for an application to renew a visa, because there are few foreigners’ movements outside Phuket. Most of them live and work in Phuket, and have done so before the new wave of Covid-19… So they do not have to worry about it. Everything is still the same.”

Medical exams are currently already required for most work permit applicants (including tests for Syphilis and Elephantiasis). A visa agent told The Thaiger that Covid-19 tests have been added to the medical examination requirements for work permit applicants. But, on the other hand, Phuket immigration says they DO NOT require Covid-19 tests for work permit applicants.

“We have not received any notices about Covid-19 requirements for processing applications to renew visas. If we do receive any such orders, we will let the public know.”

It isn’t the first time there has been conflicting statements coming out of different officials, in different immigration offices on different days.

SOURCES: Phuket News| Khaosod English

Catch up with the latest daily “Thailand News Today” here on The Thaiger.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading
Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 days ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19 | The Thaiger
Thailand4 days ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18 | The Thaiger
Thailand5 days ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Thailand News Today | 305 infections, No happy ending for massages, Phuket quarantine mooted | Jan 7 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | 305 infections, No happy ending for massages, Phuket quarantine mooted | Jan 7

Thailand News Today | 10,000 schools closed, 900 new migrant infections, Gambling crackdown | January 6 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | 10,000 schools closed, 900 new migrant infections, Gambling crackdown | January 6

Thailand News Today | PM reverses lockdown, Southern P.D.A. crackdown, Covid update | Jan 5 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | PM reverses lockdown, Southern P.D.A. crackdown, Covid update | Jan 5

Thailand News Today | Record daily infections, Covid restrictions, British arrivals ‘on hold’ | Jan 4 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Record daily infections, Covid restrictions, British arrivals ‘on hold’ | Jan 4

Thailand News Today | Pattaya restrictions, 2021’s extra holidays, Covid update | December 30 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Pattaya restrictions, 2021’s extra holidays, Covid update | December 30

Thailand News Today | Covid update, Bangkok restrictions, Gold rush | December 29 | The Thaiger
Thailand4 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Covid update, Bangkok restrictions, Gold rush | December 29

Follow The Thaiger by email:

Trending