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Phuket launches app, passengers rate taxi drivers

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: MGR Online

How was your taxi ride? Passengers will soon be able to rate their Phuket taxi drivers using a new smartphone application. The province’s project “Hello Taxi Happy Phuket” involves 300 drivers aimed at maintaining standards like fair pricing.

Customers will be able to rate their ride experience on the app and driver’s will be scored on their service. So, if a driver rips them off or takes a longer route for some extra cash, their score will go down. The rating system will develop standards for taxi drivers, according to Phuket Land Transport Office Chief Banyat Kantha.

“All of the 300 drivers that signed up to the project will adopt the same standards by offering a clean, courteous, safe service with fair prices and clear and transparent rates… The motivation for the driver to uphold these high standards is the customer scoring system which will determine their overall level of service.”

Phuket has a shady history of dodgy taxi drivers and tuk tuk scammers that run as a virtual cabal. Rip offs and extortionate fares for even short rides have given the island a bad reputation for public transport where there is little alternative but to use the taxis and 4-wheel tuk tuk vans. Efforts in the past to try and reign in the island’s taxi and tuk tuk ‘overlords’ have all failed.

Passengers in a Phuket taxi can expect to pay up to 3-5 times as much as they would pay for a similar journey in Bangkok. Even the Grab Taxi alternatives have been forced to tow the line due to the strength of the island’s taxi mafia. But the Phuket Land Transport Office Chief, seemingly oblivious of the ongoing taxi price-gouging, said that Phuket is one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the world.

“Even though the island is seeing a drop in visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic, he says they need to make sure public transport is maintained so they’re ready when international tourists can return.”

The 300 taxi drivers involved in the project were selected by Phuket officials and will be wearing a uniform representing “Hello Taxi Happy Phuket,” according to Phuket Police Commander Rungrote Thakurapunyasiri. He says they will be a “new image” of taxi drivers.

“We aim to show that we really have changed and will be offering the highest of standards. The next step will be a rehersal with the developers of the app which we envisage will prove very efficient. We wish all drivers to be proud and work collectively to develop the system with patience and offer the highest standards of service.”

Although The Thaiger congratulates the provincial government land transport office for the initiative, we wonder how travellers will know if they’re being ripped off or not because, especially from the airport, the taxi meters NEVER work, or if they do, they are illegally ‘turbo-charged’ so they clock up the baht faster than normal.

SOURCE: Phuket News

 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    sam thompson

    Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    Answer will always be related to the overpriced, rip off charges that the drivers have all mutually agreed so that tourists are given no choice but to be cheated and the drivers can earn big…..no rules imposed by Government to get these people in line and have meters installed in their vehicles so that people pay the same rates as they do for taxis in Bangkok [which are very good value]….so Q: how was your taxi ride? A: expensive

    • Avatar

      Rinky Stingpiece

      Monday, September 7, 2020 at 9:25 am

      I won’t use it, my wife haggled a great rate for a monthly private car hire with a local who needs the regular income, and she will drive over and pick me up; then I will have bikes posted to the island, I simply won’t pay for the overpriced taxis; nor will I pay for overpriced restaurants.

  2. Avatar

    Jason

    Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    I have visited Phuket 7 times now. I have one taxi driver who brings me from the airport to the hotel and back again. I am charged the same fare each time and I’m happy to pay it, because he is reliable and always on time. He is a local in Phuket and having come to know him, I trust him. I know that the fare I pay, helps support him, his wife and their kids. He works long shifts to make a living and is one of the ordinary people who have been effected most by this pandemic. I only wish I will be able to come back again. For me, to be with the woman I love and for my Taxidriver and the other people I support by the funds I spend, that they wlll not go bankrupt, because i and so many like me, can’t come to Thailand because of this pandemic.

  3. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    wasted effort. just raise fares and require drivers to use the meter. as far as long hauling, no way for most visitors to know but a lot of riders use the gps on their mobile to get an idea.

  4. Avatar

    Erik

    Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 10:58 pm

    How about the red tuk tuk style taxis? These ones are the worst scum.

  5. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 11:41 am

    They don’t have meters? Well how does the customers know what is a fair rate?
    Times are tough in Phuket and the taxi drivers are now being reasonable, and concerned, but it is all show.
    The last time I was there they were collecting commission from the hotels and restaurants they took passengers to. This was demanded otherwise the taxi drivers would take nobody there.
    It doubled the price of my hotel.
    Once a thief always a thief. They will not change.

  6. Avatar

    Rinky Stingpiece

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 9:19 am

    When will Phuket taxi fares be the same as Bangkok? That’s what needs to happen.
    In rural Thailand, I can hire a car and driver to cover half a province for 500THB; a full province for 1000THB, that rate would make the drive from Phuket airport to anywhere no more than 300THB, yet they seem to want 2000THB or more. The price should never be over 1000THB, there needs to be the same level of tight regulation on fares as in Bangkok. Price gouging foreign tourists is short-term thinking and has been harming the reputation of Phuket, along with hotel price hikes. Stop it!

    • Avatar

      Perceville Smithers

      Monday, September 7, 2020 at 12:04 pm

      It ‘d be up to the driver to comply. If andriver doesn’t want to use the meter because he feels he can make more off it, who will stop him?

  7. Avatar

    james

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    I have never seen a taxi in Phuket with a meter.

    They are scared to go to Patong for example as they will be beaten up by the local tuk-tuk drivers who are in a sort of maffia union and the prices are already fixed at a hight price.

    I saw two motorcycle taxi men beating up another motorcycle taxi man as he came into the area they had control over.

    I was in Bangkok a few weeks ago and I got a controlled yellow taxi from the airport, it was great, you take a ticket from the official machine, tell the driver where you are going and it only cost about 300 baht to get to my hotel in the middle of Bangkok, I followed the driver’s route on my iPhone and he drove the shortest route so no cheating at all and I paid what was on the meter plus the toll charges.

    We need the same system in Phuket, you can of course go to a taxi booth in the airport and the prices are all displayed and fixed, you pay first and it is hassle-free.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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