Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: As we close out a year in which widespread public complaints against Phuket taxi and tuk-tuk services have dominated local news and made headlines around the world, our editors have this afternoon received a letter which caught our attention.

It comes from a long term foreign resident well and favorably known to the Phuket Gazette. We publish it below as a public service:

"Dear Editor:

On Monday, 27 December, I was taking my girlfriend to Phuket International Airport from Naiharn when my car had a puncture and we were running out of time to catch her flight. I decided to get her a taxi in Chalong.

She asked the driver to please hurry as otherwise she would miss her flight. He demanded 800 baht (US$ 26.00; 20.00) for the trip.

On the way he drove very slowly and my girlfriend once again asked him to please hurry, whereupon he demanded a further 200 baht to comply with her request.

He then observed that she could afford it as she was with a farang [foreigner]. She protested, saying that she was a salaried person, and she asked why her relationship with a foreigner would have anything to do with the fare.

She ended up forced to pay the additional amount demanded. And she made the flight, but only because its departure had been delayed.

With the total cost of the trip at 1,000 baht (US$ 33.00; 25.00), I believe the event was a case of extortion.

Sincerely,

Richard Lusted
CEO, Siam Real Estate"
– Phuket Gazette

1

I fail to understand why the Phuket mayor, the elected MPs and other local leaders let these thieves ruin the reputation of Phuket. Surely the rogues do not have that much power. Are tuk-tuks and taxis holding a gun to the mayor's head?

Taxis in Bangkok are good, efficient and metered. Surely mafia types meddle with them also, but they do not ruin Thailand's image in Bangkok. Why is Phuket the exception?

At least the new Patong road directions will keep them off the Beach Road.

Posted by soinanai December 31, 2010 03:52:59PM

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3

I fail to understand why the Phuket mayor, the elected MPs and other local leaders let these thieves ruin the reputation of Phuket. Surely the rogues do not have that much power. Are tuk-tuks and taxis holding a gun to the mayor's head?

Taxis in Bangkok are good, efficient and metered. Surely mafia types meddle with them also, but they do not ruin Thailand's image in Bangkok. Why is Phuket the exception?

At least the new Patong road directions will keep them off the Beach Road.

Posted by soinanai

If certain gov't officials are not acting on these never-ending complaints of extortion by taxi drivers, there must be a reason. Is it difficult to figure out what that might be?

Posted by sky December 31, 2010 04:12:17PM

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6

And they wonder why they have such a bad reputation. I hope she was smart enough to get his name, which is displayed, and that she has reported him. Then he would be fired! As for keeping them off the beach road, nice dream.

Posted by Richard December 31, 2010 04:22:42PM

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8

There are only two reasons: Corruption and Personal Greed. Until someone has the gumption to do something about these two diseases, the taxi/tuk-tuk problem will be never-ending – like my posts.

Posted by j d December 31, 2010 04:44:27PM

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9

Just one point to make. I returned from the UK to Phuket on the 28 December this year and got a METERED meter taxi from just outside the arrivals hall. The cost from the airport to Rawai was 470 baht.

Posted by clickblade December 31, 2010 05:36:40PM

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10

But do not forget the honest taxi driver who returned a tourist's video camera a few days ago.

Posted by Nisse December 31, 2010 06:04:12PM

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11

I fail to understand why the Phuket mayor, the elected MPs and other local leaders let these thieves ruin the reputation of Phuket. Surely the rogues do not have that much power. Are tuk-tuks and taxis holding a gun to the mayor's head?

Taxis in Bangkok are good, efficient and metered. Surely mafia types meddle with them also, but they do not ruin Thailand's image in Bangkok. Why is Phuket the exception?

At least the new Patong road directions will keep them off the Beach Road.

Posted by soinanai

It doesn't help if the taxis in Bangkok are good, when you cannot breathe there. It's not the place for people with asthma! (Or any other people, excect the Thais, who are used to breathing the black smoke from the buses of the BMTA.)

I have experienced the meter taxis in Bangkok say the meter does not work, even if you know that it does. They are not allowed to operate with a meter that is working. When you tell them and say you will call the police, they turn it on.

The taxi drivers in Bangkok are not better than taxi drivers elsewhere in Thailand, or elsewhere in the world for that matter. The first place you normally get ripped off in most countries is on the taxi ride from the airport to your hotel.

Posted by Steven December 31, 2010 06:27:43PM

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12

The people that can do somthing about the taxis and tuk-tuks are the ones that probably own them and just employ people to drive them.

Posted by Expat December 31, 2010 06:28:33PM

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13

Once again another case of local people spoiling their own future by giving Phuket a bad name as a tourist destination. The habits of these people only get worse the more that they get away with it.

The only way to improve this is to put a meter in taxis and for all tuk-tuks to display a list of the fares and rules and regulations, such as they do in any other country.

Only today I witnessed another case where a tourist was being shaken down by the jet-ski operators on Surin Beach. Disgusting.

Posted by Passionate About Phuket December 31, 2010 07:24:53PM

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14

Why we dont say very clear that with taxi and tuk-tuk there are a lot of the corruption......

Posted by cinin December 31, 2010 07:25:58PM

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15

Why we dont say very clear that with taxi and tuk-tuk there are a lot of the corruption......

Posted by cinin

Ummmm, I think that has already been said here at least a few hundred times. It doesn't help. What we need to do is to send in a SWAT team from Bangkok.

Posted by Big Heinz December 31, 2010 08:05:59PM

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16

Well, there are certainly also some very decent taxi drivers on the island and it's sad that this point hardly gets any mentioning. Obviously, the taxi situation in Bangkok is much better than what one would expect to find here on Phuket. But ripping off foreigners is becoming a more and more popular game in Phuket and operators are paying a high price for that with shrinking revenues. Vicious circle.

Posted by Buck Wild December 31, 2010 08:57:20PM

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17

To give you a clear idea of how much influence this 'taxi cartel' has, I will tell you of an incident that happened recently. A very large employer on Phuket attempted to prevent this 'cartel' from ruining the experience their many guests that come to visit from all over the world by banning the taxis from their property. Next day an armed man walked into the lobby and demanded to see the general manager and threatened bodily harm. If they're capable of this much bravado... no hope.

Posted by James Bond December 31, 2010 09:04:07PM

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18

It is obvious the "cartel", like every other cartel in the world, is protected by a government department or agency. They do what they want, when they want, to whomever they want. Have you had the pleasant experience to see what they do to a rival taxi operating out of it's "allowed" area? They can threaten, extort and brutalize whenever they want. This is a replica of the mafia in America back in the 30s and 40s. All we are missing is the gunfights in local streets. Oooops, we've had a bit of that too!

Posted by James Bond December 31, 2010 09:22:17PM

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21

Just one point to make. I returned from the UK to Phuket on the 28 December this year and got a METERED meter taxi from just outside the arrivals hall. The cost from the airport to Rawai was 470 baht.

Posted by clickblade

Yes, there are metered taxis from the Airport or you can also take a prepaid (550 baht) limousine to Patong. But to make things clear, I have never seen a metered taxi working outside the airport. Trying to find a metered taxi to the airport from Patong, Karon, etc, is impossible. You are on your own to bicker about the price and bad things, such as described in this story, do happen often.

Posted by Mark January 1, 2011 05:26:06AM

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22

I fail to understand why the Phuket mayor, the elected MPs and other local leaders let these thieves ruin the reputation of Phuket. Surely the rogues do not have that much power. Are tuk-tuks and taxis holding a gun to the mayor's head?

Taxis in Bangkok are good, efficient and metered. Surely mafia types meddle with them also, but they do not ruin Thailand's image in Bangkok. Why is Phuket the exception?

At least the new Patong road directions will keep them off the Beach Road.

Posted by soinanai

It doesn't help if the taxis in Bangkok are good, when you cannot breathe there. It's not the place for people with asthma! (Or any other people, excect the Thais, who are used to breathing the black smoke from the buses of the BMTA.)

I have experienced the meter taxis in Bangkok say the meter does not work, even if you know that it does. They are not allowed to operate with a meter that is working. When you tell them and say you will call the police, they turn it on.

The taxi drivers in Bangkok are not better than taxi drivers elsewhere in Thailand, or elsewhere in the world for that matter. The first place you normally get ripped off in most countries is on the taxi ride from the airport to your hotel.

Posted by Steven

I have been in and out Bangkok for 8 years and have never been ripped off by a taxi. Is that a matter of just good luck? If the meter does not work, get out of the cab. It's your choice.

Posted by Mark January 1, 2011 05:29:56AM

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23

Why bitch about your local taxis and tuk-tuks? Find a couple of good ones and ring them to pick you up. A simple way to get rid of the other ones is to not use them. No passengers, no money. They will return to their previous occupation of....

Posted by wombat January 1, 2011 09:36:40AM

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24

Having been to Phuket 10 times and having been repeatedly overcharged for tuk-tuk/taxi rides, I now stand on the kerb and bare my butt because I know I am going to get screwed by the driver.

Posted by jd January 1, 2011 09:53:54AM

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25

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it January 1, 2011 10:19:17AM

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28

A question. Metered taxis are not allowed to pick up customers in Patong, Kata and Karon. Why?

Posted by yoba2390 January 1, 2011 03:09:50PM

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29

I fail to understand why the Phuket mayor, the elected MPs and other local leaders let these thieves ruin the reputation of Phuket. Surely the rogues do not have that much power. Are tuk-tuks and taxis holding a gun to the mayor's head?

Taxis in Bangkok are good, efficient and metered. Surely mafia types meddle with them also, but they do not ruin Thailand's image in Bangkok. Why is Phuket the exception?

At least the new Patong road directions will keep them off the Beach Road.

Posted by soinanai

It doesn't help if the taxis in Bangkok are good, when you cannot breathe there. It's not the place for people with asthma! (Or any other people, excect the Thais, who are used to breathing the black smoke from the buses of the BMTA.)

I have experienced the meter taxis in Bangkok say the meter does not work, even if you know that it does. They are not allowed to operate with a meter that is working. When you tell them and say you will call the police, they turn it on.

The taxi drivers in Bangkok are not better than taxi drivers elsewhere in Thailand, or elsewhere in the world for that matter. The first place you normally get ripped off in most countries is on the taxi ride from the airport to your hotel.

Posted by Steven

I have been in and out Bangkok for 8 years and have never been ripped off by a taxi. Is that a matter of just good luck? If the meter does not work, get out of the cab. It's your choice.

Posted by Mark

Mark is exactly right. I've never been in a rip-off taxi situation in Bangkok. If there is a problem in the driver not wanting to turn on the meter, I just get out and find another one – an honest one – in no time.

The Phuket taxi system its a joke and a major loss of face to the tourism authorities and everyone else in Thailand.

Posted by CaptainPugwash January 1, 2011 04:09:17PM

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30

A question. Metered taxis are not allowed to pick up customers in Patong, Kata and Karon. Why?

Posted by yoba2390

Man, oh, man. If you don't know the answer to that question you are the only such person in Phuket and I feel sorry for you. The only other possibility is that you don't live here.

Posted by Big Heinz January 1, 2011 04:25:23PM

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31

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it

So you think the taxi problem on the island is the ignorance of the people using them? The fact that the driver extorted more money to go a little faster means nothing to you? The fact that the same ride, if given by a metered taxi, would have been less than half the fare means nothing to you? So you must be the driver? His wife? His boss? His g/f? His mom....?

Posted by James Bond January 1, 2011 04:52:54PM

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34

Now another story of an airport taxi charging 1,800 baht for a ride from the airport to Chalong. This info comes from two unsuspecting friends who have never been to Phuket before and started a two-week stay a few days ago. This ugliness is a disgrace and needs to be regulated once and for all.

Posted by Neil January 2, 2011 03:12:35PM

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35

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it

So you think the taxi problem on the island is the ignorance of the people using them? The fact that the driver extorted more money to go a little faster means nothing to you? The fact that the same ride, if given by a metered taxi, would have been less than half the fare means nothing to you? So you must be the driver? His wife? His boss? His g/f? His mom....?

Posted by James Bond

So why didn't he take a metered taxi? He's been in Phuket for many years and still can't manage a metered taxi? JB, I'm none of the above, but I support capitalism. Supply and demand applies here. Need to go to the airport? Pay for the experience. Want to break the traffic speed limits? Pay for it!

Posted by N2it January 2, 2011 04:32:17PM

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36

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it

So you think the taxi problem on the island is the ignorance of the people using them? The fact that the driver extorted more money to go a little faster means nothing to you? The fact that the same ride, if given by a metered taxi, would have been less than half the fare means nothing to you? So you must be the driver? His wife? His boss? His g/f? His mom....?

Posted by James Bond

No, JB, just that the blame for the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver IMO, but with the passenger. As stated, he was not prepared to change the tire; didn't leave for the airport with sufficient time to allow for delays; and his car maintneance may well have not been up to par. I'm suggesting that the cost of the taxi ride is the foreigner's fault for lack of foresight. Poor planning, if you will. So why blame the taxi?

Posted by N2it January 2, 2011 07:59:31PM

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37

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it

So you think the taxi problem on the island is the ignorance of the people using them? The fact that the driver extorted more money to go a little faster means nothing to you? The fact that the same ride, if given by a metered taxi, would have been less than half the fare means nothing to you? So you must be the driver? His wife? His boss? His g/f? His mom....?

Posted by James Bond

No, JB, just that the blame for the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver IMO, but with the passenger. As stated, he was not prepared to change the tire; didn't leave for the airport with sufficient time to allow for delays; and his car maintneance may well have not been up to par. I'm suggesting that the cost of the taxi ride is the foreigner's fault for lack of foresight. Poor planning, if you will. So why blame the taxi?

Posted by N2it

As long as you believe the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver we will have this nuisance continue in Phuket. If not the taxi driver than who? The cost of a taxi ride in a non metered taxi rests solely with the taxi driver. And the taxi cartel holds this island hostage to those exorbitant fares at the expense of our tourist economy. It is sad that something as simple as a flat tire becomes an opportunity for the taxi cartel to extort yet another resident.

Posted by James Bond January 3, 2011 12:10:18AM

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38

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it

So you think the taxi problem on the island is the ignorance of the people using them? The fact that the driver extorted more money to go a little faster means nothing to you? The fact that the same ride, if given by a metered taxi, would have been less than half the fare means nothing to you? So you must be the driver? His wife? His boss? His g/f? His mom....?

Posted by James Bond

No, JB, just that the blame for the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver IMO, but with the passenger. As stated, he was not prepared to change the tire; didn't leave for the airport with sufficient time to allow for delays; and his car maintneance may well have not been up to par. I'm suggesting that the cost of the taxi ride is the foreigner's fault for lack of foresight. Poor planning, if you will. So why blame the taxi?

Posted by N2it

As long as you believe the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver we will have this nuisance continue in Phuket. If not the taxi driver than who? The cost of a taxi ride in a non metered taxi rests solely with the taxi driver. And the taxi cartel holds this island hostage to those exorbitant fares at the expense of our tourist economy. It is sad that something as simple as a flat tire becomes an opportunity for the taxi cartel to extort yet another resident.

Posted by James Bond

JB, the man was hardly a 'tourist'. Long time resident is more accurate. He basically 'empowered' the taxi driver by agreeing in advance (in both cases) to pay the fare and by not practicing good common sense. Agree that taxi fares are high and that meters should be imposed. However, when I was a tourist I paid one specific taxi driver 1,000 baht per day for full use of his taxi all day and night.

You've got to be creative as well as make a reasonable offer when doing business. I've lived here a long time and I never use taxis.

Posted by N2it January 3, 2011 09:30:29AM

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39

Taxis? I've traveled the world using taxis. The first thing to do is check the price, if you like it, get in, if not, get another taxi. Phuket and Bangkok are no different than any other place in the world. Come on guys get real.

Posted by Martin January 3, 2011 11:16:21AM

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40

Would the Gazette be prepared to send a reporter out on a mission? List the drivers who are ripping people of, then publish a " name and shame " list?

Posted by kld January 3, 2011 12:21:48PM

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41

A question. Metered taxis are not allowed to pick up customers in Patong, Kata and Karon. Why?

Posted by yoba2390

Man, oh, man. If you don't know the answer to that question you are the only such person in Phuket and I feel sorry for you. The only other possibility is that you don't live here.

Posted by Big Heinz

Dear Big Heinz, I just want to tell you, maybe I know much more than you, what you don't know, is Phuket Gazette cut one part of the text.

Posted by YOBA2390 January 3, 2011 12:22:28PM

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42

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it

So you think the taxi problem on the island is the ignorance of the people using them? The fact that the driver extorted more money to go a little faster means nothing to you? The fact that the same ride, if given by a metered taxi, would have been less than half the fare means nothing to you? So you must be the driver? His wife? His boss? His g/f? His mom....?

Posted by James Bond

No, JB, just that the blame for the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver IMO, but with the passenger. As stated, he was not prepared to change the tire; didn't leave for the airport with sufficient time to allow for delays; and his car maintneance may well have not been up to par. I'm suggesting that the cost of the taxi ride is the foreigner's fault for lack of foresight. Poor planning, if you will. So why blame the taxi?

Posted by N2it

As long as you believe the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver we will have this nuisance continue in Phuket. If not the taxi driver than who? The cost of a taxi ride in a non metered taxi rests solely with the taxi driver. And the taxi cartel holds this island hostage to those exorbitant fares at the expense of our tourist economy. It is sad that something as simple as a flat tire becomes an opportunity for the taxi cartel to extort yet another resident.

Posted by James Bond

JB, the man was hardly a 'tourist'. Long time resident is more accurate. He basically 'empowered' the taxi driver by agreeing in advance (in both cases) to pay the fare and by not practicing good common sense. Agree that taxi fares are high and that meters should be imposed. However, when I was a tourist I paid one specific taxi driver 1,000 baht per day for full use of his taxi all day and night.

You've got to be creative as well as make a reasonable offer when doing business. I've lived here a long time and I never use taxis.

Posted by N2it

Ok, I agree with you. With a little street savvy and common sense those of us that live here know not to use taxis, at all. We know who to call when we need one and we get a fair rate.

That said, the average tourist visiting our great Island is hard pressed to know what we know. And even the occasional expat living here gets a bad taste of the local cartel in instances like the original story.

Posted by James Bond January 3, 2011 11:59:11PM

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44

The transport of tourists in Thailand is a massive industry and open to a lot of corruption which leaves a bad taste, particularly for tourists and more importantly for first time tourists!.

We holiday in Phuket every year in September and have done for 10 years. We made friends with a local taxi guy from Phuket Town and we use him for all our transport when in Phuket.

All our children and extended family use him when they visit Patong, all of them love him., We feel safe and secure with him.

Posted by Rossco January 6, 2011 06:04:39AM

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44

The transport of tourists in Thailand is a massive industry and open to a lot of corruption which leaves a bad taste, particularly for tourists and more importantly for first time tourists!.

We holiday in Phuket every year in September and have done for 10 years. We made friends with a local taxi guy from Phuket Town and we use him for all our transport when in Phuket.

All our children and extended family use him when they visit Patong, all of them love him., We feel safe and secure with him.

Posted by Rossco January 6, 2011 06:04:39AM

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42

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it

So you think the taxi problem on the island is the ignorance of the people using them? The fact that the driver extorted more money to go a little faster means nothing to you? The fact that the same ride, if given by a metered taxi, would have been less than half the fare means nothing to you? So you must be the driver? His wife? His boss? His g/f? His mom....?

Posted by James Bond

No, JB, just that the blame for the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver IMO, but with the passenger. As stated, he was not prepared to change the tire; didn't leave for the airport with sufficient time to allow for delays; and his car maintneance may well have not been up to par. I'm suggesting that the cost of the taxi ride is the foreigner's fault for lack of foresight. Poor planning, if you will. So why blame the taxi?

Posted by N2it

As long as you believe the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver we will have this nuisance continue in Phuket. If not the taxi driver than who? The cost of a taxi ride in a non metered taxi rests solely with the taxi driver. And the taxi cartel holds this island hostage to those exorbitant fares at the expense of our tourist economy. It is sad that something as simple as a flat tire becomes an opportunity for the taxi cartel to extort yet another resident.

Posted by James Bond

JB, the man was hardly a 'tourist'. Long time resident is more accurate. He basically 'empowered' the taxi driver by agreeing in advance (in both cases) to pay the fare and by not practicing good common sense. Agree that taxi fares are high and that meters should be imposed. However, when I was a tourist I paid one specific taxi driver 1,000 baht per day for full use of his taxi all day and night.

You've got to be creative as well as make a reasonable offer when doing business. I've lived here a long time and I never use taxis.

Posted by N2it

Ok, I agree with you. With a little street savvy and common sense those of us that live here know not to use taxis, at all. We know who to call when we need one and we get a fair rate.

That said, the average tourist visiting our great Island is hard pressed to know what we know. And even the occasional expat living here gets a bad taste of the local cartel in instances like the original story.

Posted by James Bond January 3, 2011 11:59:11PM

Reply

0    0

41

A question. Metered taxis are not allowed to pick up customers in Patong, Kata and Karon. Why?

Posted by yoba2390

Man, oh, man. If you don't know the answer to that question you are the only such person in Phuket and I feel sorry for you. The only other possibility is that you don't live here.

Posted by Big Heinz

Dear Big Heinz, I just want to tell you, maybe I know much more than you, what you don't know, is Phuket Gazette cut one part of the text.

Posted by YOBA2390 January 3, 2011 12:22:28PM

Reply

0    0

40

Would the Gazette be prepared to send a reporter out on a mission? List the drivers who are ripping people of, then publish a " name and shame " list?

Posted by kld January 3, 2011 12:21:48PM

Reply

0    0

39

Taxis? I've traveled the world using taxis. The first thing to do is check the price, if you like it, get in, if not, get another taxi. Phuket and Bangkok are no different than any other place in the world. Come on guys get real.

Posted by Martin January 3, 2011 11:16:21AM

Reply

0    0

38

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it

So you think the taxi problem on the island is the ignorance of the people using them? The fact that the driver extorted more money to go a little faster means nothing to you? The fact that the same ride, if given by a metered taxi, would have been less than half the fare means nothing to you? So you must be the driver? His wife? His boss? His g/f? His mom....?

Posted by James Bond

No, JB, just that the blame for the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver IMO, but with the passenger. As stated, he was not prepared to change the tire; didn't leave for the airport with sufficient time to allow for delays; and his car maintneance may well have not been up to par. I'm suggesting that the cost of the taxi ride is the foreigner's fault for lack of foresight. Poor planning, if you will. So why blame the taxi?

Posted by N2it

As long as you believe the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver we will have this nuisance continue in Phuket. If not the taxi driver than who? The cost of a taxi ride in a non metered taxi rests solely with the taxi driver. And the taxi cartel holds this island hostage to those exorbitant fares at the expense of our tourist economy. It is sad that something as simple as a flat tire becomes an opportunity for the taxi cartel to extort yet another resident.

Posted by James Bond

JB, the man was hardly a 'tourist'. Long time resident is more accurate. He basically 'empowered' the taxi driver by agreeing in advance (in both cases) to pay the fare and by not practicing good common sense. Agree that taxi fares are high and that meters should be imposed. However, when I was a tourist I paid one specific taxi driver 1,000 baht per day for full use of his taxi all day and night.

You've got to be creative as well as make a reasonable offer when doing business. I've lived here a long time and I never use taxis.

Posted by N2it January 3, 2011 09:30:29AM

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37

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it

So you think the taxi problem on the island is the ignorance of the people using them? The fact that the driver extorted more money to go a little faster means nothing to you? The fact that the same ride, if given by a metered taxi, would have been less than half the fare means nothing to you? So you must be the driver? His wife? His boss? His g/f? His mom....?

Posted by James Bond

No, JB, just that the blame for the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver IMO, but with the passenger. As stated, he was not prepared to change the tire; didn't leave for the airport with sufficient time to allow for delays; and his car maintneance may well have not been up to par. I'm suggesting that the cost of the taxi ride is the foreigner's fault for lack of foresight. Poor planning, if you will. So why blame the taxi?

Posted by N2it

As long as you believe the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver we will have this nuisance continue in Phuket. If not the taxi driver than who? The cost of a taxi ride in a non metered taxi rests solely with the taxi driver. And the taxi cartel holds this island hostage to those exorbitant fares at the expense of our tourist economy. It is sad that something as simple as a flat tire becomes an opportunity for the taxi cartel to extort yet another resident.

Posted by James Bond January 3, 2011 12:10:18AM

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36

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it

So you think the taxi problem on the island is the ignorance of the people using them? The fact that the driver extorted more money to go a little faster means nothing to you? The fact that the same ride, if given by a metered taxi, would have been less than half the fare means nothing to you? So you must be the driver? His wife? His boss? His g/f? His mom....?

Posted by James Bond

No, JB, just that the blame for the cost of a taxi ride does not reside with the taxi driver IMO, but with the passenger. As stated, he was not prepared to change the tire; didn't leave for the airport with sufficient time to allow for delays; and his car maintneance may well have not been up to par. I'm suggesting that the cost of the taxi ride is the foreigner's fault for lack of foresight. Poor planning, if you will. So why blame the taxi?

Posted by N2it January 2, 2011 07:59:31PM

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35

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it

So you think the taxi problem on the island is the ignorance of the people using them? The fact that the driver extorted more money to go a little faster means nothing to you? The fact that the same ride, if given by a metered taxi, would have been less than half the fare means nothing to you? So you must be the driver? His wife? His boss? His g/f? His mom....?

Posted by James Bond

So why didn't he take a metered taxi? He's been in Phuket for many years and still can't manage a metered taxi? JB, I'm none of the above, but I support capitalism. Supply and demand applies here. Need to go to the airport? Pay for the experience. Want to break the traffic speed limits? Pay for it!

Posted by N2it January 2, 2011 04:32:17PM

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34

Now another story of an airport taxi charging 1,800 baht for a ride from the airport to Chalong. This info comes from two unsuspecting friends who have never been to Phuket before and started a two-week stay a few days ago. This ugliness is a disgrace and needs to be regulated once and for all.

Posted by Neil January 2, 2011 03:12:35PM

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31

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it

So you think the taxi problem on the island is the ignorance of the people using them? The fact that the driver extorted more money to go a little faster means nothing to you? The fact that the same ride, if given by a metered taxi, would have been less than half the fare means nothing to you? So you must be the driver? His wife? His boss? His g/f? His mom....?

Posted by James Bond January 1, 2011 04:52:54PM

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30

A question. Metered taxis are not allowed to pick up customers in Patong, Kata and Karon. Why?

Posted by yoba2390

Man, oh, man. If you don't know the answer to that question you are the only such person in Phuket and I feel sorry for you. The only other possibility is that you don't live here.

Posted by Big Heinz January 1, 2011 04:25:23PM

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29

I fail to understand why the Phuket mayor, the elected MPs and other local leaders let these thieves ruin the reputation of Phuket. Surely the rogues do not have that much power. Are tuk-tuks and taxis holding a gun to the mayor's head?

Taxis in Bangkok are good, efficient and metered. Surely mafia types meddle with them also, but they do not ruin Thailand's image in Bangkok. Why is Phuket the exception?

At least the new Patong road directions will keep them off the Beach Road.

Posted by soinanai

It doesn't help if the taxis in Bangkok are good, when you cannot breathe there. It's not the place for people with asthma! (Or any other people, excect the Thais, who are used to breathing the black smoke from the buses of the BMTA.)

I have experienced the meter taxis in Bangkok say the meter does not work, even if you know that it does. They are not allowed to operate with a meter that is working. When you tell them and say you will call the police, they turn it on.

The taxi drivers in Bangkok are not better than taxi drivers elsewhere in Thailand, or elsewhere in the world for that matter. The first place you normally get ripped off in most countries is on the taxi ride from the airport to your hotel.

Posted by Steven

I have been in and out Bangkok for 8 years and have never been ripped off by a taxi. Is that a matter of just good luck? If the meter does not work, get out of the cab. It's your choice.

Posted by Mark

Mark is exactly right. I've never been in a rip-off taxi situation in Bangkok. If there is a problem in the driver not wanting to turn on the meter, I just get out and find another one – an honest one – in no time.

The Phuket taxi system its a joke and a major loss of face to the tourism authorities and everyone else in Thailand.

Posted by CaptainPugwash January 1, 2011 04:09:17PM

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28

A question. Metered taxis are not allowed to pick up customers in Patong, Kata and Karon. Why?

Posted by yoba2390 January 1, 2011 03:09:50PM

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25

"Extortion?" What about including real-estate brokers and certain developers in that group? He had an option, IMO, to fix the flat tire if he didn't want to take a taxi. Better yet, would have been to leave earlier so you have time to get to the airport. And keep your car in better condition.

Don't blame the taxi driver for your own mistakes.

Posted by N2it January 1, 2011 10:19:17AM

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24

Having been to Phuket 10 times and having been repeatedly overcharged for tuk-tuk/taxi rides, I now stand on the kerb and bare my butt because I know I am going to get screwed by the driver.

Posted by jd January 1, 2011 09:53:54AM

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23

Why bitch about your local taxis and tuk-tuks? Find a couple of good ones and ring them to pick you up. A simple way to get rid of the other ones is to not use them. No passengers, no money. They will return to their previous occupation of....

Posted by wombat January 1, 2011 09:36:40AM

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22

I fail to understand why the Phuket mayor, the elected MPs and other local leaders let these thieves ruin the reputation of Phuket. Surely the rogues do not have that much power. Are tuk-tuks and taxis holding a gun to the mayor's head?

Taxis in Bangkok are good, efficient and metered. Surely mafia types meddle with them also, but they do not ruin Thailand's image in Bangkok. Why is Phuket the exception?

At least the new Patong road directions will keep them off the Beach Road.

Posted by soinanai

It doesn't help if the taxis in Bangkok are good, when you cannot breathe there. It's not the place for people with asthma! (Or any other people, excect the Thais, who are used to breathing the black smoke from the buses of the BMTA.)

I have experienced the meter taxis in Bangkok say the meter does not work, even if you know that it does. They are not allowed to operate with a meter that is working. When you tell them and say you will call the police, they turn it on.

The taxi drivers in Bangkok are not better than taxi drivers elsewhere in Thailand, or elsewhere in the world for that matter. The first place you normally get ripped off in most countries is on the taxi ride from the airport to your hotel.

Posted by Steven

I have been in and out Bangkok for 8 years and have never been ripped off by a taxi. Is that a matter of just good luck? If the meter does not work, get out of the cab. It's your choice.

Posted by Mark January 1, 2011 05:29:56AM

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21

Just one point to make. I returned from the UK to Phuket on the 28 December this year and got a METERED meter taxi from just outside the arrivals hall. The cost from the airport to Rawai was 470 baht.

Posted by clickblade

Yes, there are metered taxis from the Airport or you can also take a prepaid (550 baht) limousine to Patong. But to make things clear, I have never seen a metered taxi working outside the airport. Trying to find a metered taxi to the airport from Patong, Karon, etc, is impossible. You are on your own to bicker about the price and bad things, such as described in this story, do happen often.

Posted by Mark January 1, 2011 05:26:06AM

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18

It is obvious the "cartel", like every other cartel in the world, is protected by a government department or agency. They do what they want, when they want, to whomever they want. Have you had the pleasant experience to see what they do to a rival taxi operating out of it's "allowed" area? They can threaten, extort and brutalize whenever they want. This is a replica of the mafia in America back in the 30s and 40s. All we are missing is the gunfights in local streets. Oooops, we've had a bit of that too!

Posted by James Bond December 31, 2010 09:22:17PM

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To give you a clear idea of how much influence this 'taxi cartel' has, I will tell you of an incident that happened recently. A very large employer on Phuket attempted to prevent this 'cartel' from ruining the experience their many guests that come to visit from all over the world by banning the taxis from their property. Next day an armed man walked into the lobby and demanded to see the general manager and threatened bodily harm. If they're capable of this much bravado... no hope.

Posted by James Bond December 31, 2010 09:04:07PM

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16

Well, there are certainly also some very decent taxi drivers on the island and it's sad that this point hardly gets any mentioning. Obviously, the taxi situation in Bangkok is much better than what one would expect to find here on Phuket. But ripping off foreigners is becoming a more and more popular game in Phuket and operators are paying a high price for that with shrinking revenues. Vicious circle.

Posted by Buck Wild December 31, 2010 08:57:20PM

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15

Why we dont say very clear that with taxi and tuk-tuk there are a lot of the corruption......

Posted by cinin

Ummmm, I think that has already been said here at least a few hundred times. It doesn't help. What we need to do is to send in a SWAT team from Bangkok.

Posted by Big Heinz December 31, 2010 08:05:59PM

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14

Why we dont say very clear that with taxi and tuk-tuk there are a lot of the corruption......

Posted by cinin December 31, 2010 07:25:58PM

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13

Once again another case of local people spoiling their own future by giving Phuket a bad name as a tourist destination. The habits of these people only get worse the more that they get away with it.

The only way to improve this is to put a meter in taxis and for all tuk-tuks to display a list of the fares and rules and regulations, such as they do in any other country.

Only today I witnessed another case where a tourist was being shaken down by the jet-ski operators on Surin Beach. Disgusting.

Posted by Passionate About Phuket December 31, 2010 07:24:53PM

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12

The people that can do somthing about the taxis and tuk-tuks are the ones that probably own them and just employ people to drive them.

Posted by Expat December 31, 2010 06:28:33PM

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11

I fail to understand why the Phuket mayor, the elected MPs and other local leaders let these thieves ruin the reputation of Phuket. Surely the rogues do not have that much power. Are tuk-tuks and taxis holding a gun to the mayor's head?

Taxis in Bangkok are good, efficient and metered. Surely mafia types meddle with them also, but they do not ruin Thailand's image in Bangkok. Why is Phuket the exception?

At least the new Patong road directions will keep them off the Beach Road.

Posted by soinanai

It doesn't help if the taxis in Bangkok are good, when you cannot breathe there. It's not the place for people with asthma! (Or any other people, excect the Thais, who are used to breathing the black smoke from the buses of the BMTA.)

I have experienced the meter taxis in Bangkok say the meter does not work, even if you know that it does. They are not allowed to operate with a meter that is working. When you tell them and say you will call the police, they turn it on.

The taxi drivers in Bangkok are not better than taxi drivers elsewhere in Thailand, or elsewhere in the world for that matter. The first place you normally get ripped off in most countries is on the taxi ride from the airport to your hotel.

Posted by Steven December 31, 2010 06:27:43PM

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10

But do not forget the honest taxi driver who returned a tourist's video camera a few days ago.

Posted by Nisse December 31, 2010 06:04:12PM

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9

Just one point to make. I returned from the UK to Phuket on the 28 December this year and got a METERED meter taxi from just outside the arrivals hall. The cost from the airport to Rawai was 470 baht.

Posted by clickblade December 31, 2010 05:36:40PM

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8

There are only two reasons: Corruption and Personal Greed. Until someone has the gumption to do something about these two diseases, the taxi/tuk-tuk problem will be never-ending – like my posts.

Posted by j d December 31, 2010 04:44:27PM

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6

And they wonder why they have such a bad reputation. I hope she was smart enough to get his name, which is displayed, and that she has reported him. Then he would be fired! As for keeping them off the beach road, nice dream.

Posted by Richard December 31, 2010 04:22:42PM

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3

I fail to understand why the Phuket mayor, the elected MPs and other local leaders let these thieves ruin the reputation of Phuket. Surely the rogues do not have that much power. Are tuk-tuks and taxis holding a gun to the mayor's head?

Taxis in Bangkok are good, efficient and metered. Surely mafia types meddle with them also, but they do not ruin Thailand's image in Bangkok. Why is Phuket the exception?

At least the new Patong road directions will keep them off the Beach Road.

Posted by soinanai

If certain gov't officials are not acting on these never-ending complaints of extortion by taxi drivers, there must be a reason. Is it difficult to figure out what that might be?

Posted by sky December 31, 2010 04:12:17PM

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1

I fail to understand why the Phuket mayor, the elected MPs and other local leaders let these thieves ruin the reputation of Phuket. Surely the rogues do not have that much power. Are tuk-tuks and taxis holding a gun to the mayor's head?

Taxis in Bangkok are good, efficient and metered. Surely mafia types meddle with them also, but they do not ruin Thailand's image in Bangkok. Why is Phuket the exception?

At least the new Patong road directions will keep them off the Beach Road.

Posted by soinanai December 31, 2010 03:52:59PM

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