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Phuket Taxis Blockade Luxury Cruise Ship Passengers From Disembarking

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Taxis blockade Phuket cruise passengers

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The luxury cruise liner Silver Spirit at Phuket Deep Sea Port this morning.

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Phuket Marine Police chief Phuripat Theerakulpisut makes a point

during today's emergency meeting at the Deep Sea Port.

PHUKET: -- The latest tuk-tuk and taxi blockade at the Phuket Deep Sea Port led to a victory for the drivers, who from today will be given a “50-50 share” of access to disembarking cruise ship passengers.

Vice Governor Nivit Aroonrat, Phuket City Police chief Chote Chitchai and local Marine Police brokered the agreement at about noon today, four hours after the blockade was set up.

Many of the 472 passengers aboard the Silver Spirit cruise liner had planned to take half-day minivan tours of Phuket, returning to the vessel before its scheduled departure at 1pm.

Their Phuket experience will not be a fond one, however, as they were not allowed past the blockade of some 200 angry taxi and tuk-tuk drivers.

The drivers were protesting the fact that local tour agents pick up most of the passengers who disembark from cruise ships at the port, leaving them with no work and no income.

“We have discussed this with the tour agencies and local authorities 10 times already over the past year, but still nothing has been done,” Taweesak Jumpada, a local taxi driver at Ao Makham for the past 12 years, told the Phuket Gazette.

Japanese tour operator Osaki Takumi said, “We had four Japanese guests who have booked a half-day round-trip tour, but now they cannot enjoy that as the ship is scheduled to leave at 1pm.”

The passengers are on a cruise from the Malaysian island of Penang to Columbo in Sri Lanka.

One of the tourists, 50-year-old Brazilian Marlove Araujs, said she and her husband were disappointed that their half-day tour had to be canceled.

“I have been to Phuket once before and I was very much looking forward to having another look around,” she said.

Another tourist, 66-year-old Schettle Roland, of Luxembourg, said, “This is bad. I came here 10 years ago. I didn’t plan to go inland myself, but I am not sure tourists will want to come to Phuket if they are greeted like this.”

One of the taxi drivers who helped reach the agreement, 50-year-old Narin Kebsup, said he was part of a 160-member collective of local taxi and tuk-tuk drivers.

Drivers wait all day for fares at the port, only to find that their time has been wasted when tour operators send their own vehicles to collect passengers, said the 20-year veteran driver.

As part of the agreement worked out today, tour operators will now have to inform the taxi and tuk-tuk co-op when they plan to use their own vehicles, he said.

The latest blockade was aimed at the management of the Sea Tour travel agency, but the Ao Panwa taxi co-op has shown in the past they are ready to take on all comers when they feel their interests are at stake.

In June last year a similar blockade was staged to stop US Navy seamen from taking buses paid for by the US military to points in Patong.

It was later reported that US military personnel had been the subject of at least three similar blockades, yet US Embassy staff downplayed the incidents and continued to insist Phuket was a preferred port-of-call for off-duty servicemen.

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-- Phuket Gazette 2011-04-06

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En route from Penang to Colombo, eh?

Next time, I hope the cruise company only gives these people the chance to wave at the ship as it cruises on past Laem Promthep. <profanity removed>.

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As part of the agreement worked out today, tour operators will now have to inform the taxi and tuk-tuk co-op when they plan to use their own vehicles, he said.
So the Tuk Tuks and taxis will now get advanced warning that they are probably just going to be sat around all day.

Can't see how that helps.

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I cant wait for thai government to allow only meter taxi in phuket or something like that, most taxi and tuktuk in phuket are insanely unfriendly and overpriced and definitly a reason why tourist might not want to come back to phuket. They rather sit all day long doing nothing than lower their prices even in low season.

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It is a joke !!!!!

Who is running the island ?? The taxis or the goverment ???

Of course all can book a tour company to pickup guests at the harbor, or i will suggest that all tour companies block Bangla, as they want half the customers going home !!

*** the taxis on Phuket !

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Business people minim ise risk, and maximise income potential. The sword is not entirely for Thailand Local Mafia to negiate between each other here. It is also the choice of the cruise ship, where and when they visit - meaning they do not have to stop again in Phuket.

This kind of publicioty (it happened before with a US Navy Vessel also), will discourage new business to Phuket.

Instead of treating the cuise-goers as cattle (half access to tourists) Thais must realise that tourists are a personal commodity, rather than an impersonal commodity, unlike a bag of rice they are used to generating income from.

These Tuk Tuk drivers should be arrested for restricting the freedom of choice and movement of the cruise-goers, as any person in Thailand is entitled to provided they have not broken the law and have no intention to break the law. This is where countries which do not negotiate with organised crime are ahead of the rest - enjoy your time in Penang guys, it is a lovely and relativly crime-free part of Malaysia :)

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Taxi in Phuket is bad. They charge very high for the trip from airport to Patong which is weight more than Suvarnbhumi to Silom.

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Just another reason not to visit Phuket.

Been there once and refuse to go back the whole place is a rip off from the mafia tuk tuk drivers to the jet ski cons.

Phuket is becoming the joke of Thailand the sooner someone does something about it the better.

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Shooting themselves in the foot....again. Cave men had more brains.

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I just hope the powers that be in Phuket receive a letter from the cruise line management, " As of today we will not be offering our customers a stop off in Phuket from any of our ships for obvious reason, **** you"

These guys are pure filth, and the main reason my family are off to Kotakinablu this weekend for a week, instead of Phuket which we had been visiting for many years.

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How well does the English saying "to shoot yourself in the foot" translate into Thai? Clearly not too well.

Next time, there'll be no cruise ship for Phuket, no work for minibusses, no work for local guides, no part fees paid, no tourist money spent at attractions, shops, restaurants & bars!

So the selfish tuk-tuk mafia will still lose out and by their actions, but so will the rest of Phuket and the local Phuket economy!

What an absolute farce! As if Phuket doesn't need more tourists / visitors......

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It is a joke !!!!!

Who is running the island ?? The taxis or the goverment ???

Of course all can book a tour company to pickup guests at the harbor, or i will suggest that all tour companies block Bangla, as they want half the customers going home !!

*** the taxis on Phuket !

No kidding.... That is a joke!!!!!! The taxi drivers are crying because the tour agencies are picking up their customers from the ferry? These people wouldn't even be in Phuket if the tour agency hadn't booked them a dam_n tour in the first place. Several of those tourist would have done some shopping, eating, and other activities..... But lets throw that all away because the taxi driver want to cry like little girls. Who is running Phuket?!? The fact that the police allowed this to happen is a disgrace.

Amazing Thailand, the people use to be so friendly, but now it's Thai "Wanna-Be" Mafia mixed with the Wild Wild West. It's just a big J-O-K-E

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These bandits always get it their own way, 'Mafia'? No just organised scum.

I thought the new Governor was going to clean this sort of shit up... obviously not.

I will not be recommending any of mtyfamily of friends visit Phuket. It is not good for your wealth or your health.

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So, that's another 472 tourists that won't be coming back to Thailand multiplied by XXX number of friends/relatives they talk to when they get home.

When is Thailand going to grow up/wake up and smell the coffee? Or are they believing their own TAT figures now that show an increase in tourists when anyone who goes outside (with their eyes open) can see for themselves that there are FAR less foreigners here now than there were even 2 years ago???

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I cant wait for thai government to allow only meter taxi in phuket or something like that, most taxi and tuktuk in phuket are insanely unfriendly and overpriced and definitly a reason why tourist might not want to come back to phuket. They rather sit all day long doing nothing than lower their prices even in low season.

It's the Thai business model: Never adapt your product or the price to the market and so no transactions take place and everybody complains.

Greedyness paired with stupidity not uncommon in third world countries. Hope this incident gets a lot of international coverage. The only businesses that work here are with few exceptions the western managed ones.

Transportation in Phuket is a problem and instead of complaining why not correctly maintain the vehicles, have a clear pricing structure and perhaps even attempt to learn English.

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Shooting themselves in the foot....again. Cave men had more brains.

LMAO Well put

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Phuket is becoming the joke of Thailand the sooner someone does something about it the better.

Yes, true . . . but more importantly when it comes to Tourism now, Thailand is becoming the joke of the world and a place to avoid.

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Just another reason not to visit Phuket.

Been there once and refuse to go back the whole place is a rip off from the mafia tuk tuk drivers to the jet ski cons.

Phuket is becoming the joke of Thailand the sooner someone does something about it the better.

How about hotels that charge double what the rest of the country charges? enabling you access to tuk tuk's that charge 5x the rate of everywhere else, Phuket here i come.

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Just another reason not to visit Phuket.

Been there once and refuse to go back the whole place is a rip off from the mafia tuk tuk drivers to the jet ski cons.

Phuket is becoming the joke of Thailand the sooner someone does something about it the better.

Don't worry TAT and the 'Government' will sort it.....................................................................................................................................................................

Phuket is probably the worst advertisement for Thai tourism followed closely by Pattaya. The tourist is seen as 'fair game' to be ripped off from the moment they land until the moment they get fleeced on their way back to the airport. I advise anyone I come into contact with holidaying here in Thailand to avoid it and go to places where the locals haven't largely become cynical and money hungry. As for these tuk tuk and taxi drivers they are little more than an organized crime network and it's funny that the other network in brown is brokering a deal for them. Why? because they make on the deal regardless.

Phuket the Pearl of the Andaman my arse

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This is not a victory for the drivers, it is a big loss for Phuket, the Governor, the image of a holiday destination and the whole nation. If I would come on a cruise to Phuket, I would not want to be one of the 50%-ers squeezed in a fish can to be taken around the island for a ridiculous rip-off fare. :realangry::bah::hit-the-fan::redcard1:

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wow, so, instead of doing what taxi drivers in other places do, ie. "there's no fares here, the tour operators organise their own transport, I'll go somewhere else" They have a blockade, and actually convince the authorities to allow them 'access' to the people from the cruise ships? So, when your cruise ship docks in Phuket, instead of an organised half-day tour, you get told "you take taxi", then you get in the taxi and the driver says "bpai nai?" blink.gif

Lovely. Presumably he'll also drop you off on the beach so you can rent a jet-ski off his mates?

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As I said in a recent thread it was a delight to watch the Phuket tuk tuk drivers lose out when the Queen Mary 2 offloaded by tender at Patong beach 10 days ago. Cunard had already had a correspondence fight against these drivers who were reportedly charging several thou baht for short trips and 10k baht plus for half day trips when Cunard docked at a proper port on the island about a year ago. Hence the change of venue (reportedly) for QM 2 and hence Cunard had gone out of its way to lay on tour coaches and minivans. Tuk tuks could not get close to the offloading spot and had mean pickings that day.

Lots here seem to think that all this has a marked impact on tourist numbers and that tourists are sick of being ripped off in Phuket. Can't see it myself - I suspect that most tourists think that even Phuket prices are cheaper than they would pay nearer to home. The island certainly seemed to be buzzing with tourists when I was there (many Russians) and the local press was reporting a strong uptick in tourism. We crusty ole expats can wish for a 'told-you-so' crash all we like, but I doubt we will see one.

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Phuket once an idyllic spot to visit is now complete rubbish, these tuk tuk drivers and their jet ski mates should be rounded up and be given jobs as street cleaners only in charge of a broom, they are a disgrace not only to themselves, their families but to ALL thinking Thais....enjoy Songkran you losers we are all off to Langkawi where guests are treated as such!!

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It is a joke !!!!!

Who is running the island ?? The taxis or the goverment ???

Of course all can book a tour company to pickup guests at the harbor, or i will suggest that all tour companies block Bangla, as they want half the customers going home !!

*** the taxis on Phuket !

You just know this. Thailand is govern by gangs, Sicily maybe the birth place of the Mafia, but Thailand is where Mafia have made the extortionsa way of life

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Please, no offence to the many good people(thai&expat) living in Phuket.

But why on earth any one would want to live in a place with such over inflated prices

and losey service is beyond me.

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