Taxi-ous times in Phuket: Crackdown leads to double ‘fare-ests’ in Kathu

Picture courtesy of Phuket Land Transport Office.

Phuket‘s crackdown on illegal taxi drivers continues, with two arrests made in Kathu last week. At Si Kor Intersection, Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) officials and Kathu Police officers set up a checkpoint to identify and apprehend drivers using their private vehicles for commercial transportation services.

The operation took place on the main road to and from Patong, the island’s most popular tourist area, and was active for two hours. While the exact number of alleged taxi vehicles checked during this time was not disclosed by the PLTO, the operation resulted in the arrest of two taxi drivers, reported Phuket News.

The announcement of these arrests came just hours before the Department of Land Transport’s (DLT) central office publicly announced that Bolt, a taxi application, had been granted permission to provide services nationwide. Bolt drivers using private vehicles can now offer taxi services to customers in Phuket and other locations in Thailand, as long as their cars display the “CAR APP” stickers, confirming proper registration with the DLT or PLTO in Phuket.

Thailand appears to have a perpetual problem with its taxi drivers, whether it is illegal drivers, overcharging foreigners or rival taxi gang or mafia conflicts.

On Saturday, a group of Win motorbike taxi drivers claim they were attacked by Bolt drivers in Pattaya, following disagreements over customers and territory. The incident, which took place on Saturday night, resulting in injuries to two individuals.

At around 10.30pm, two motorbike taxi drivers, 50 year old Paitoon Wengwipha and 35 year old Anant Panyim, visited the Pattaya Police Station to file a complaint against an unidentified group of individuals. According to their statement, the group consisted of Bolt drivers who had physically assaulted them.

Paitoon and Anant reported that the group had around seven to eight men. They explained that prior to the incident, some Bolt drivers had entered a condominium area, which the Win drivers considered their territory. This led to a minor verbal altercation between a different group of Win drivers and the Bolt drivers. Read more on the story HERE.

Phuket News

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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.