Pattaya Daily News

24 May 2011 :: 08:05:41 am 53939

Bangkok And Pattaya Taxis Battle Over Passengers

The local Pattaya City Taxi and Capital City Taxi are both battling against each other to win over passengers, adding fuel to the current issues of traffic congestion, street accidents and numerous other conflicts.
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Three years ago Pattaya City launched a new personal taxi service, which aimed to provide for long-distant passengers such as those arriving or departing from the airport. Pattaya Bus Cooperative Group started with 700 Baht-buses which subsequently expanded to another 125 buses due to the increasing tourist demand. The “Songtaew-Taxi Lovers Club in Pattaya” was initiated by Apidech Rueangsak, who became the chairman of club.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do
The Baht-bus taxi is the most recognizable icon of Pattaya City and has become the leading public transportation in Pattaya. The cooperative group aims to provide for the long-distant passengers by opening 125 extra taxis with installation of devices such as Global Navigation Systems, Radio communications, NGV and Taxi-meters, in order to compete with Bangkok Taxis and private taxis.

Cheap and Good cannot co-exist.The high quality service is accompanied by the high price tag that Pattaya Taxi Association has set with prices starting from 1,500 Baht per trip to Bangkok. Meanwhile Bangkok and private Taxis only charge 800 Baht. Most Westerners would easily reject the shocking expensive prices and choose the cheaper options. However passengers, who care about the high standards and securities, still consider travelling with Pattaya Baht-buses regardless of the price.

There are a number of agencies in Pattaya for Bangkok and private taxis, which targeted at those travelling to and from Bangkok. The one-way trip from Bangkok to Pattaya costs approximately 1,200 Baht and 800 Baht for return. The job of the agent is to find passengers from Pattaya to Bangkok, avoiding unfortunate situations where drivers travel alone back to Bangkok without customers. In return, the agent will receive 300 Baht commission. Bangkok and private taxis would get 1,200 Baht in total, excluding the NGV charges.

Passengers are the source of many conflicts
All taxis are competing vigorously for passengers. Pattaya Co-op Taxis clearly mark their territories by parking in large community places such as shopping centres. Meanwhile drivers of Taxi Commission Agent parked their vehicles in front of hotels claiming their grounds.

The war intensified when Bangkok Taxis operated in Pattaya taking over local businesses. Consequently numerous complaints and protests were made against the Bangkok drivers, who were allegedly accused of violence and physical assault against Pattaya drivers.

A Bangkok taxi owner named Uncle Man said he was told to leave the province by other Pattaya taxi drivers while he was working in Pattaya.

A Chonburi-registered taxi driver, Lop said that one of sixty-two members of the taxi group was murdered by a Pattaya Taxi driver. Based on that incident, Pattaya Taxis have been labelled as the “Mafia”.

On 11 May 2006 over 100 Taxi Commission Agents filed a police complaint against Pattay Taxi Cooperatives, who were allegedly accused of threatening the commission agents in Pattaya.

However, the chairman of ‘Song-Taew Taxi Lovers Club in Pattaya’ confirmed that “Pattaya taxi drivers are not a mafia” as falsely accused.

He stated that all conflicts between the taxi commission agents and Pattaya taxi drivers arise from a misunderstanding.
The Chairman of the club pleaded for the cooperation of Bangkok drivers and Taxi Commission Agents to ensure that drivers stopped stealing passengers at every corners of Pattaya.

Both sides continued the battle, filing one complaint after another.

On the night of 14 May 2011, a 40-year-old Bangkok Taxi driver of Ubon Ratchathani lodged a police complaint with Pol. Lt. Gen. Weerawut Meelai at Pattaya Police Station.

Uthai Yossombat claimed that a 35-year-old man of 1.65m height had conned him into a cheating scheme costing him 1,200 Baht.

The strange man approached him at a traffic light and told him that there were four tourists waiting for a taxi at New Start Hotel, Uthai told his story.

The tourists were willing to pay 2,000 Baht for a trip to Bangkok, Uthai continued.

The man asked for 1,000 Baht commission and 200 Baht to buy soft drinks for the hotel staffs, he said adding that he agreed to the arrangement.

However after Uthai waited for hours at the hotel, he realised that he had been deceived.

This is one of the many common deceptions happening in Pattaya. Hence a commission agent is vital in the taxi business, ensuring appropriate passengers are picked up at the correct location.

A possible price compromise
The Bangkok taxis normally earns 500 Baht after commission for driving passengers from Pattaya to Bangkok. In contrast Pattaya taxis make 1,500 Baht for a trip to Bangkok. Clearly the prices vary significantly between two taxi groups.
The Taxi Commission agents aim at keeping the fare at 800 Baht, which is a more standard and acceptable prices than those of Pattaya Taxis.

The Pattaya Taxi Cooperative is seeking to expand the franchise by setting up a compromised taxi system for both Bangkok and Pattaya taxis. The plans are to eliminate all private taxis and allow Bangkok taxis to park at designated areas. In addition, for those passengers who cannot afford a 1,500 Baht trip to Bangkok, they can easily take Pattaya taxis at the cost of 800 Baht. In this instance only 200 Baht will be deducted as commission for the Pattaya taxis.

Both parties should compromise an average price of 1,000 Baht for each trip to Bangkok. This is a reasonable price for Bangkok taxis. Pattaya taxis should consider lowering their price to 1,000 Baht to secure their long-term business.
The standard taxi system will ensure the safety of passengers and their belongings. Reconciliation of all parties may be achieved provided that Pattaya Taxi would agree to lower their fares. The good image of Pattaya City would be maintained if both Bangkok and Pattay taxis cooperate as one entity

Translator : Yuth Baitabtim
Re-writer : Tina Lee

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Society

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