Tuk-tuks oppose plan for metered taxis

PHUKET: More than 200 tuk-tuk drivers assembled early this morning at the Provincial Hall to protest against plans by a private company to set up a metered taxi service in Phuket. The protest was sparked by the distribution of handbills by Phuket Metered Taxi Service Co, announcing its plans for a metered taxi service that would be cheaper to use than tuk-tuks or existing taxi and limousine services. The handbill advertised a rate of 30 baht for any distance below 2 kilometers, then 4 baht per kilometer for greater distances. It also urged tuk-tuk and taxi drivers to join the company. Tuk-tuk driver Amnouy Vecansin told the Gazette, “The owner [of the taxi company] didn’t contact us; the company just distributed its handbills. We are very worried. There are already about 1,400 tuk-tuks in Phuket. Some days I get just one customer. [If metered taxis are introduced] people will prefer to use them. This is competition we really don’t want.” Governor Ponpayome Vasaputi met with 10 representatives of the tuk-tuk drivers. He told them, “I agree that we don’t need more taxis in Phuket. I have already spoken with the owner of the company about his plans and told him we can’t have more taxis, and that I thought the prices he was quoting were not reasonable. I promise you I will not allow new metered taxis to come into operation. “However,” he added, “I do like the idea of meters. I would prefer to see the existing tuk-tuks and taxis here fitted with them to make fares standard.” Gov Ponpayome told the Gazette, “I’m very interested in the idea of metered tuk-tuks because we have received many complaints from tourists about tuk-tuk prices. “I asked the tuk-tuk drivers whether they would be interested in being the first metered tuk-tuks in Thailand. If they do decide they are interested, then we will talk about it again. I also suggested to them that they should adjust the prices they charge now so that they are fair to both sides.” Tawatchai Meeniam, owner of Phuket Metered Taxi Service Co, could not be reached for comment.

Phuket News

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

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