Japanese taxi-basher vents again

Japanese taxi-basher vents again

A foreigner waits to get a taxi queue ticket at Suvarnabhumi Airport. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
A foreigner waits to get a taxi queue ticket at Suvarnabhumi Airport. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

A Japanese expat who made headlines in January for venting his frustrations about "cheating" taxi drivers at Suvarnabhumi Airport has spoken out again.

Koki Aki, an educational volunteer who says he has lived in Thailand for almost 10 years, blasted cabbies who have brought "shame to Thailand" in a new Facebook message on Saturday morning.

"Eleven of my friends from Japan came to Thailand to help slum children on the evening of April 14. They took two taxis (to the Sukhumvit-Asok area) but the drivers refused to turn on their meters," Mr Aki wrote.

"The cabbies charged them 600 baht and 750 baht, excluding tollway fees. The cabbies also asked for their queue tickets at the airport.

"My friends said the airport staff in charge of giving the queue tickets were seen playing around.

"I raised this issue in January but nothing has changed. Responsible ministries and airport authorities should know that taxi drivers and certain staff at the airport have brought shame to Thailand. Do they know that they are damaging Thailand's image and causing great loss to the country?"

The 46-year-old Japanese man wrote that he had been criticised and threatened by taxi drivers since going public with his earlier complaints.

Cabbies may have low incomes and limited ability to earn more, but these are not reasons for ripping off tourists, he said. Instead, he suggested, drivers should talk to the relevant authorities about ways to improve their lot instead of taking out their frustrations on tourists.

Mr Aki called on the government to enforce taxi regulations properly at Suvarnabhumi Airport for tourists' sake.

In January, Mr Aki complained on his Facebook page about a number of problems at Suvarnabhumi, particularly about being charged a 700-baht flat fare to Bangkok's Saphan Khwai area by a driver who refused to use the meter. The normal fare is about 350 baht, he said.

After his post went viral, a group of cabbies in Bangkok reacted angrily by announcing that they would no longer accept Japanese passengers, prompting more complaints from the general public.

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