Phuket authorities clamp down on illegal taxi practices, impose hefty fines

PHOTO: iStock

Over the past five months, the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) has conducted an operation targeting individuals involved in illegal taxi practices. Their recent crackdown at Phuket International Airport resulted in the apprehension of two additional drivers.

Led by Kornpitak Assuwan, head of the academic group at PLTO, also referred to as the policy division, officers initiated another phase of their operation on Thursday (June 22). This involved the establishment of a checkpoint from 3.30pm to 6.30pm in front of the Phuket Air Traffic Control Centre on the main road leading to the airport’s entrance. Officers from the Phuket Tourist Police and Sakhu Police were also present to render support.

In a report released by PLTO, it was stated that the officials’ primary focus was the probe into illicit usage of private cars for the pickup of passengers, essentially functioning as taxis. This, as well as other potential infractions of provincial taxi regulations, were explored.

Following the inspection, it was discovered that two private cars, distinguishable by their white and black license plates, were utilised for passenger pickups. These two cases were subsequently referred to the PLTO for the imposition of fines and consideration of suspending licenses for the offenders, by the law,” the PLTO reported.

This enforcement action trails a taxi-related inspection conducted by Maj. Gen. Krit Warit, Commander of Tourist Police Region 3, on Tuesday (June 20). The inspection led to the fining of one of the two airport limousine cooperatives, which had to pay around 180,000 baht (US$5,400) for drivers visiting tour shops before delivering passengers to their destinations. This was seen as providing a service that lacked honesty and convenience.

The cooperative in question was revealed as the Phuket Airport Limousine and Business Service Co-Operative Ltd. There were no reports concerning the second cooperative known as Phuket Maikhao Sakhu Co Ltd, which shares the exclusive rights to serve tourists at Phuket International Airport. Images from the inspection showed Tourist Police officers scrutinising kiosks used by both cooperatives.

Yet, despite these steps taken by PLTO and supporting officers, the fight against illegitimate taxi operations continues. Remaining undeterred, the authorities pledge to further their efforts in clamping down on these unlawful activities, echoing their commitment to providing a fair and legal taxi service for the inhabitants and visitors of Phuket.

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Phuket News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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