Phuket taxi driver fined for being rude

Phuket taxi driver fined for being rude

Taxi driver Jessada Kahapana, 48, seated, at Kamala police station where he was charged on Sunday with attempted coercion of a passenger. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)
Taxi driver Jessada Kahapana, 48, seated, at Kamala police station where he was charged on Sunday with attempted coercion of a passenger. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

PHUKET: A taxi driver has been fined 1,000 baht and instructed to attend a course on good manners for being rude to a visitor from Bangkok he tried to overcharge on Friday night.

The dispute was posted on social media and went viral. 

Local land transport department chief Chaturong Kaewkasi gave details of the outcome on Monday.

He said a reasonable fare for a trip from Kamala to Patong was 400 baht for four people, but passengers could bargain for a better price.

People could call for a taxi via the Hello Phuket Service app for reasonable fares, he said.

About 11pm on Friday, a dispute developed between a cab driver and Kevin Phol, who wanted a taxi to go from a restaurant in tambon Kamala to Patong.

Mr Kevin wrote on his Facebook account that he called a cab via Bolt app and a driver quoted 168 baht for the trip. The driver later asked to cancel the booking after realising he was in Kamala, saying he could not pick up a fare there because of the influence of local taxi drivers. Mr Kevin said his request for a Grab taxi was rejected for the same reason.

When he learned that local taxi drivers were waiting in front the restaurant he went to see them. Told that the trip would cost him 600 baht, he said they were overcharging. The cabbies' response then became very heated, Mr Kevin said.

Mr Chaturong said taxi driver Jessada Kahapana, 48, was fined 1,000 baht for his bad manners and ordered to undergo three hours of training on providing good service.

Phuket police chief Pol Maj Gen Sermphan Sirikhong said the taxi driver was also charged with attempted coercion. He denied the charge.

Taxi driver Jessada said Mr Kevin wanted to go to a hotel on Soi Ban Na Nai in Patong. Another taxi driver quoted the trip at 600 baht. He stepped in because it was his turn in the queue.

According to Mr Jessada, Mr Kevin accused them of trying to cheat him, but he replied that  600 baht fare was normal for a local taxi on that route.

The average fare from Kamala to Patong was 500 baht, but the man wanted to go to Soi Ban Na Nai, which was far from the centre of Patong and it was late at night, Mr Jessada said.

He denied he had been too strident in arguing the fare with the visitor.

Mr Kevin is the son of Dr Sunil Phol, owner of Dr Sunil International Dental Center in Bangkok.

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