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In Bangkok the Transport Ministry has urged taxi drivers to comply with the standards of service set by the ministry while it considers the proposed fare increase. The drivers have been asked that from October 5thy, they keep their cars in a good condition and improve the cleanliness of their vehicles. Once taxis in Thailand reach the standards outlined by the ministry a review of the fare hike will then be conducted.
Air Chief Marshal Prain Junton has been reported as saying that the ministry is yet to reach a decision on the increase but it is likely given the current cost of living in Thailand. Taxi drivers submitted the petition to raise fares after discovering that the LPG and NGV fuel prices in the country were due to go up. They believe the starting price of 35 baht for the first three kilometers should be increased as it has been capped at that level for over a decade and are looking for a 20% increase as well as an extension of service for taxis from 9 years to 12 years and a tax exemption for cars that to be registered as taxis.
In the meantime it seems that in Koh Samui where the starting price is 50 baht, far above that in Bangkok, and a 50 baht surcharge is levied on all journeys taxi drivers are still flatly refusing to use their meters. Many Samui Times readers have reported that drivers will make any excuse for not turning on their meters, such as they are broken, they don’t have one and more recently many are using the excuse about the rise in fuel prices. However one disgruntled customer told the Samui Times “ my journey from Tesco Lotus home costs 240 baht with the meter on in a taxi, I know this because just once I got into a cab that was using the meter. Now, without the meter, taxis are charging me between 500 and 600 baht for the same trip, I don’t know how much the drivers think the cost of fuel has gone up but surely it cannot have risen to such a price that it costs over 250 baht more per journey?”
Taxi drivers in Koh Samui have long had a reputation or overcharging customers, many visitors and residents were delighted to think that the rules with regards to meter use would be enforced when the new regulations were put in place, but sadly the reform only seems to have lasted a couple of days, if that, and its business as usual for taxi drivers who are happy to charge extortionate rates for even short journeys and seem to have a total disregard for the hotline number that was given out for those who had a problem with meters being used. One can only hope that this kind of behavior does not add to the lawless reputation the islands in the Gulf seem to be becoming known for.