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Tourist police on Tuesday agreed to support a call by taxi drivers on Koh Samui for fare hikes, although they are notorious for refusing to use their meters and overcharging passengers.
The consent was given by Pol Lt-Colonel Piyaphan Wana-ukirt, a Samui tourist police inspector, after a public hearing with taxi drivers was held at a Koh Samui police station on Tuesday morning.
The meeting was joined by academics from the Surat Thani Transport office and police officers from Koh Samui and Bophut police stations.
Piyaphan held the hearing following complaints by foreign tourists that drivers on the tiny tourist destination were refusing to use their meters and overcharging them. Piyaphan was assigned to tackle the problem.
But during the meeting, taxi drivers said Samui was a special area and they would accrue losses if they used their meters because petrol prices on the island were higher than mainland prices by Bt2 to Bt3 per litre.
During the meeting, taxi drivers proposed raising the metered fare to start at Bt100 for the first two kilometres and Bt20 per kilometre thereafter. If taxis are caught in traffic, meters should charge Bt5 per minute, the drivers said.
If the proposal is approved by the Transport Ministry, the Samui Taxi Driers Club promised to change the meters by November 23, after which all drivers are supposed to start using them.
Piyahan said taxi drivers would be arrested and face severe legal action if they still refuse to comply with the new measure if the proposal is approved.