Phuket eyes metred taxis and tuk tuks

14 Feb 2010

The authorities in Phuket are studying a plan to fit out tuk tuks and taxi with metres standardising fares in the popular tourist and incentive destination.

Of late, the island has generated complaints about the exorbitant cost of transportation.

The proposed flag down rate is ThB80 (US$2.37) for taxis with additional ThB3 (US$0.10) for every kilometre travelled thereafter. The recommended fare for tuk tuks is ThB20 (US$0.60) on flag down and an additional ThB1.50 (US$0.05) for each kilometre travelled thereafter.

The move to regulate fares has received support from representatives of 16 nations, including Australia, Germany, the UK, Sweden Spain, Russia, Korea, Austria and Italy, which are big toursit generators for the island.

Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob is expected to hold a meeting with key parties about the proposal this week.

In recent months, drivers of taxis and tuk tuks have come under fire for their exploitative fares, which threaten to erode Phuket's visitor-friendly image.

Reports in local newspapers peg the cost of a tuk-tuk from Phuket's airport to Patong, a journey of 40 kilometres, at ThB800 (US$24), about the same price as the bus fare to Bangkok, 852 kilometres away.

Several weeks ago, a Canadian guest, who complained about the ThB150 (US$4.45) fare for a one-minute ride, was punched in the face several times by a tuktuk driver.

Gigi Onag

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