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Ninety three drivers of meter taxis – two thirds of the 139 meter taxis in Phuket – registered this morning (September 1) to serve passengers at Phuket International Airport on the first day of the airport’s “freedom meter taxi service”.
“We have unlocked the old system whereby only one meter taxi company was allowed a concession to serve the airport. Now, any meter taxi can register and pick up passengers here,” said the Director of Phuket International Airport, Pratuang Sornkham.
The taxi desk at Phuiket Airport is right outside the domestic arrivals hall.
“There are four parts to the voucher,” Mr Pratuang explained. “One is for the taxi driver and one is for the desk staff. The other two are for the passenger. They have complete information: The taxi licence plate number, the driver’s phone number and your departure time [from the airport].
“Passengers should please keep the voucher [until they are safely at their destination with all their belongings]. If you leave something in the taxi by mistake, please call: 076 351 518, or the taxi hotline at 1584. For complaints, call 1584 or complain directly at the NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order] booth at the airport,” he added.
Action on taxi complaints will be taken within seven days.
The new system will benefit not only passengers but also the taxi drivers, Mr Pratuang said. “After the taxi has dropped a guest from the airport to their hotel, they are free to pick up anyone else anywhere else on the island, and take them to the airport,” he added.
“If any taxi driver is threatened by the driver of another taxi, they can file a complaint directly at the NCPO booth at the airport. The same applies for any passenger threatened by a taxi driver.”
Passengers boarding a taxi at the airport will have to pay a B100 surcharge. At the moment this goes into the lucky driver’s pocket but in the future, once a private company has been found to run the system, the money will go to that company. At present it is run, free, by the military.
Current fares are: B50 for the first two kilometers; then the fare per kilometer is B7 up to 21km, and B6 a kilometer after that.
Fares can be expected to go up. “A higher tariff is now being considering by the NCPO. A decision is and expected to be announce by the end of this month,” Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO) Chief Teerayut Prasertphol told The Phuket News.
If agreed by the NCPO, that fare will be B50 baht for first 2km, then B12/km up to 15km and B10/km after that.
Approximately meter taxi fares from the airport (excluding the B100 surcharge)are: Phuket City, B400; Chalong, B470; Patong, B500; Karon, B600; Laguna, B300; Cape Panwa, B520; Rawai, B620.
More meter taxis will soon swell the ranks, said Mr Teerayut. “Since August 1, when we opened registration for meter taxis, I have approved a further 280 cars. They are now waiting for yellow licence plates, which will be issued at a rate of about 40-50 cars a day.” That will bring the number of meter taxis on the island up to 419.