Taxi dispute disrupts tourists at Phuket’s Cafe del Mar

Image courtesy of Phuket News

Taxi drivers in front of Cafe del Mar in Kamala have once again caused a disturbance that has negatively impacted tourists’ experiences in Phuket. A complaint was lodged at Kamala Police Station following an incident on Wednesday night.

A metered taxi driver, 40 year old Chalermphon Kwanyuen, received a booking via the Bolt app to pick up passengers from Cafe del Mar. Upon his arrival at around 7.50pm, Manasmee Poksakul, a driver from the local taxi queue, approached him to discuss picking up passengers in that area.

Traditional taxi queue drivers are widely known to hold resentment towards Bolt or Grab drivers, believing that these drivers are stealing customers from their respective areas.

With previous confrontations involving taxi drivers in front of Cafe del Mar in mind, Chalermphon cautiously lowered his window and unlocked his door to engage in the conversation.

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Manasmee, lengthily speaking in a dissatisfied manner, instructed Chalermphon to park in front of a hotel further down the road.

While Manasmee was explaining the conditions of picking up passengers, the tourists in the backseat of Chalermphon’s taxi grew uneasy and decided to leave the vehicle.

As they walked away in the rain, Manasmee reportedly rudely shouted at them, although the exact words were not disclosed.

The incident was captured on video by foreign tourists across the street and later posted on a popular local social media page. The video attracted numerous comments criticising the taxi drivers and expressing concerns about the negative impact on Phuket’s tourism image.

Kamala Police summoned Manasmee to the station, where he was informed that he would be facing charges for using threats or intimidation to cause fear. However, a settlement was reached, and Manasmee paid 500 baht, after which the matter was dropped, reported Phuket News.

Chalermphon later expressed his relief at the resolution, stating he only wanted to ensure his safety without escalating the issue further.

The Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO), led by Chief Adcha Buachan, has yet to publicly acknowledge the incident. The PLTO is responsible for regulating all taxi drivers and vehicles in Phuket.

Their latest report indicates ongoing efforts to crack down on illegal taxi drivers at Phuket airport, a campaign that has been active for several months.

Phuket NewsThailand 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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