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Phuket airport boss confirms all approved taxi apps allowed from Friday


The general manager of Phuket International Airport has confirmed that all legal taxi app drivers are welcome at the airport from tomorrow. The Phuket News reports that Monchai Tanode made his announcement at a press conference yesterday, August 30.

The move is a major win for diversification of Phuket public transport issues, particularly for the taxi rides from the airport after you arrive. The concessions for the taxi operators have forced arriving passengers to pay well above the average taxi rate in Thailand for more than 2 decades.

The surprise announcement comes just days after a visit by Thailand’s new PM, Srettha Thavisin, and the president of Airports of Thailand, Dr Keerati Kitmanawat. It puts an end to the ridiculous scenario whereby arriving passengers who had pre-booked transport through a taxi app had to drag their luggage across the airport car parks and out into the public street, in order to meet their driver.

For years, taxi services at Phuket Airport have been tightly controlled by a cabal of drivers paying the local operator and the AoT millions of baht annually in order to have exclusive rights to arriving passengers at the airport. According to Monchai, the airport is responding to a directive to offer new modes of transport.

How it will be allowed to operate in practice…. we are yet to see.

“Phuket Airport has been directed to introduce new modes of travel to enhance public convenience. This move aims to cater to both domestic and international tourists, aligning with the evolving travel landscape.”

According to The Phuket News, so far, four taxi apps have responded to the announcement, requesting permission to pick passengers up at the airport. They are Grab, Asia Cab, Hello Phuket, and AirAsia SuperApp. Monchai says Grab has already received formal approval.

Bolt and InDrive have not been included at this stage.

“Grab has received the green light to commence operations first, while other applications are still undergoing evaluation.”

According to Monchai, there will be a designated location between the international and domestic terminals for passengers availing of ride-hailing apps.

“This central location will serve as a pickup point, ensuring seamless access for travellers.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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