Phuket International Airport will allow passengers to call Grab taxis via ride-hailing apps starting Friday, with more smartphone-based taxi services being considered.
Monchai Tanode, director of Phuket International Airport, said the move will provide more transportation choices for passengers. He said four ride-hailing app developers have applied for the licence to operate their service at the airport -- Grab, Asia Cab, whose vehicles look like London taxis, Hello Phuket, and Air Asia.
During the initial phase, only Grab was granted permission to operate its service for passengers at the airport. Mr Monchai said the other ride-hailing apps are in the consideration process. The Phuket Provincial Transport Office must first inspect them for safety standards.
He said every taxi vehicle operated under the ride-hailing apps must have a global positioning system (GPS) and a lost-and-found system to guarantee the safety of passengers and their belongings.
He said the airport will have a designated area for passengers who call taxis using an app that will not be far from the passenger terminal.
Kirati Kijmanawat, director of Airports of Thailand (AoT), said Phuket airport has long been troubled by illegal taxis and taxi mafias.
As a result, the airport has a policy that every airport taxi must register their licence with the airport. He said Grab taxi drivers are also registered to provide personal details before offering their services.
Taxis from ride-hailing apps will also not charge additional fees. Drivers can only enter the airport once their arriving passenger gives them a call. Taxi drivers who are called to drop off departing passengers are not allowed to linger at the airport parking spots to collect new passengers, Mr Kirati said.
Phuket airport handles an average of 40,000 passengers per day.