Following yet another embarrassing incident (captured on video below) involving Phuket public transport providers, officials have had to ask the island’s taxi drivers to “be nicer to tourists”. The Phuket Express reports that drivers at Rassada Pier have been visited by the Phuket City Police Chief and officials from the Land Transport Office.
The incident is just the latest in a decades-long campaign of bullying and extortion that has produced hundreds of stories and social media posts about the island’s taxi-related public transport challenges.
Yesterday’s visit by officials is the result of a dispute on Saturday, June 3, when a lone female traveller was forced out of a minivan and made to carry her suitcase outside the pier area because she had booked her transport through a ride-hailing app. In this case, Bolt, which is now legal in Phuket.
The group of drivers involved in the incident got into a dispute with the woman’s driver, telling him he was not authorised to pick up passengers at Rassada Pier. This despite his minivan being registered to do so and having the required yellow licence plates.
VIDEO: You Tube/The Phuket Express
Now, Pratueng Ponmana, chief of Phuket City Police, has ordered taxi drivers at the pier to be “more polite”. The instruction follows confirmation from Kornpitak Artsuwan, acting chief of the Phuket Land Transport Office, that the woman used Bolt to book her minivan.
According to the report, taxi drivers at the pier did not know the Bolt application was one officially approved by the PLTO (despite spending the last year actively and publicly campaigning against the legalisation of any app-based transport alternatives). Pratueng says the situation has now been explained to them, with a request that they be more polite – to both tourists and other taxi drivers.
Pratueng says taxi drivers stationed at Rassada Pier do have a right to protect themselves from illegal taxi services. However, drivers booked through PLTO-approved apps are entitled to pick passengers up at the pier.
SOURCE: The Phuket Express