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Yet another story about the Phuket Tuk Tuk Mafia

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The Phuket Tuk Tuk mafia are well known for their high charges, belligerence, laziness, and a whole hosts of other critism. They won't allow a bus service between the beach area, indeed they roughed up the drivers when a service was introduced a few years back, the won't allow the meter taxis to operate in the popular areas. Now they won't let tour operators pick up their customers and transport to their bases. Oh no, the taxis must be paid. Her is a local high profile story in the Phuket Gazette ---->

Phuket taxi drivers demand fare share

Tuk tuk taxis in Karon, which number 400 in total.

Karon taxi consortium representative Supab Prankaew: 'taxi drivers used to make up to 3,000 baht a day, but now they only make about 300 baht a day'.

KARON, PHUKET: A group of Phuket taxi operators has demanded a ‘fair share’ of the tourists transported between a Karon hotel and local tour destinations.

The demands follow a complaint from Centara Karon Resort Phuket that heated arguments at the hotel between taxi drivers and tour company representatives have scared off tourists and threatened to ‘tarnish Phuket’s image’ as a tourist destination.

Representatives from Centara Karon Resort Phuket handed a letter of complaint to Phuket Vice Governor Smith Palawatvichai last week. The letter cited several recent public disputes between taxi drivers based near the hotel and tour company representatives.

The rest of the story http://www.phuketgazette.net/news/detail.asp?id=8111

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The claim that they only make 300 baht/day compared with 3,000 baht before (?) is worth some discussion. Now, a Tuk Tuk would not even switch the ignition on for less than 500 baht/trip so I don't know where the 300 baht came from. Another thing is that there are far too many Tuk Tuks sharing the pie. And they are shooting themselves in the foot as more and more tourists are learning the truth and decide to hire a car or bike rather than face the daunting task of hiring/paying for a Tuk Tuk. I suppose much of the problem has been caused by tourists comparing taxi prices to their own country, and thinking oh that's not so bad. I'm guessing that's why the situation has gotten so much out of hand as the drivers quickly catch onto his attitude and get even more greedy. I myself would rather walk than take a Tuk Tuk, indeed I have often done that when having my car is in the shop. Sucessive Phuket Governors have tried to introduce a fare table to be displayed in tuk tuk, but on no, those ideas were immediately ignored. I keep on wishing that these guys will be tamed by the authorities, but I doubt it. Too much money to be screwed out of the tourists !!!

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Sucessive Phuket Governors have tried to introduce a fare table to be displayed in tuk tuk, but on no, those ideas were immediately ignored.

I wonder just how serious about it the authorities really are. Why can't they have the police start fining tuk-tuk drivers if the fares are not prominently displayed? The police are quick enough to stop motorcycle drivers. Why can't they require the hotels to hand out fare sheets when guests check in and keep additional copies in the packet that usually appears on the desk in the rooms, and make sure that sheet has a number to call if the driver attempts to gouge the price? If they want the tourists to know the fares, it seems to me it would be easy enough to make sure tourists are informed whether the tuk-tuk drivers cooperate or not.

There is a similar problem in Pattaya. There are taxis available in Pattaya now, although not very many, but trying to get the drivers to turn on the meter is practically impossible. I don't see any reason why there isn't readily available information with a number for tourists to call if a taxi driver refuses to use the meter and fines or even loss of licenses for drivers that won't comply. I don't mind paying a reasonable fare, but I mind very much being cheated. I'm sorry they don't make much money, but I'm not the one who establishes the fares and their salaries. It shouldn't be my problem or yours.

Bangkok seems to have succeeded. Prior to enforcement of turning on the meters it was extremely difficult to get Bangkok taxi drivers to use the meter. Ever since the regulations went into effect I have never even had to ask. Every taxi I have been in since the regulations went into effect has always turned on the meter. If they can get the Bangkok drivers to comply, what's so difficult about getting taxi drivers in other cities to comply?

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Here is another take on the same story, from the other Phuket paper.

Phuket Brands and Tuk-Tuks in Fares Stand-Off

By Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

TWO OF the best-known tourism brands in Thailand are embroiled in an argument with Phuket tuk-tuk drivers that has also involved police, and possibly will soon involve the island's governor.

The brands are Centara, the expanding Thai resort chain that is part of the Central group, and Siam Safari, a well-regarded tour company that has been operating on the island for 20 years.

The row came to a head about noon on Monday when tuk-tuk drivers blocked the entrance to the upmarket Centara Karon Resort Phuket.

Rest of the story ----->

http://phuketwan.com/tourism/phuket-brands-tuk-tuks-fares-dispute-11885/

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And yet another follow up story, same subject.

Phuket Tuk-Tuk Row 'May Hit Scandinavia Market'

By Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

THE POTENTIAL for the tuk-tuk stand-off on Phuket to damage the island's tourism industry became apparent today with the revelation of other big travel brands involved.

A spokeswoman for Centara Resorts said that Turismo Asia, who act for the large Scandinavian travel group TUI Nordic, has been a target for tuk-tuk action, along with Phuket adventure tour brand Siam Safari.

The spokeswoman, who asked only to be described as ''an agent from the hotel,'' told a meeting at Provincial Hall today that the tuk-tuk dispute posed a threat to Phuket's ''sensitive Scandinavian market.''

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She said there was a danger that travellers would find alternative destinations if guests continued to be caught up in the tuk-tuk dispute.

A two-page letter, signed by Centara Group Vice President Treerayut Jiratiwat, was handed to Vice Governor Smit Parawatwichai, who chaired today's meeting.

Rest of the story ----->

http://phuketwan.com/tourism/phuket-tuk-tuk-row-hurt-scandinavia-market-11890/

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