The General Manager of Phuket International Airport has confirmed plans for an area where all legally registered taxis can pick up passengers. In a 3 page statement described as a “clarification”, Monchai Tanode responded to a formal complaint from Move Forward MP, Somchart Techathavorncharoen.
In a detailed complaint dating back to May, Somchart raised a series of issues affecting passengers arriving at the airport. These included tourists having to walk through the rain to get to the airport bus stop and having to leave the airport grounds to meet a pre-arranged taxi.
Phuket Airport is paid an undisclosed amount of money for its taxi concession that has caused decades of high fares, extortion and poor service for arriving tourists. The ‘monopoly’ has effectively blocked any real attempts to provide a real alternative. Even the bus service has been relegated to a ‘difficult to find’ area to the north of the domestic terminal arrival area.
In his statement, Mochai says a new bus parking area has been created under the covered area. In response to Somchart’s complaint over the lack of a bus stop at the international terminal, Mochai says a covered walkway has been created between both the domestic and international terminal, keeping people dry if they have to walk to the bus stop at the domestic terminal.
Responding to complaints about arriving visitors having to walk out of the airport grounds to meet taxis booked through ride-hailing apps, Mochai says the airport plans to build a “public transport centre” next year. Meanwhile, the airport has installed spotlights and signs.
“As for the area for all types of taxis to pick up tourists, currently it is in the process of finding a solution to the problem with the relevant department.”
He goes on to say that the airport cannot allow taxis that are not legally registered to operate from the facility.
Ride hailing apps are now allowed to operate legally in Thailand but Phuket’s taxi cabals have actively campaigned against their operation, sometimes violently.
The airport manager also insisted that the airport is not involved with drivers from the taxi concessions at the airport that sometimes make unrequested stops at tour shops while taking tourists to their accommodation, or even offering alternative accommodation. The airport plans to create a dedicated channel to handle such complaints, according to Mochai.
He says signs have also been installed in response to complaints that there was no information available to arriving tourists about where they could find metered taxis or the airport bus.
SOURCE: The Phuket News