You must be wondering why such a subject title… I don’t usually write such stuff except on my Facebook notes. But I think this is way overdue. I believe others have written about this and I should do my part as well to help bring this to the attention of the Tourism of Thailand and hope they can work with the Thai Department Of Land Transportation asap.
I’m talking about the pesky tuk tuk drivers and taxi drivers. Tuk tuks are an icon in Thailand. You mention tuk tuk, everyone knows its Thailand. To be honest, I have stopped taking tuk tuks more than a decade ago. Reason is they don’t charge reasonably anymore. What used to be 20-40baht, became prices with no ceilings. I witnessed one couple being quoted 150baht to their nearby hotel from MBK‘s taxi stand when I was here in Jan but they still went for it… I reckon they thought it was cheap and they were middle-easterns. That’s why when someone comes up to me and ask if I wanna take a tuk tuk, I just walk pass them and brush them away. Tuk tuk my foot! Tuk your head then you know!
Of late, taxi drivers are also picking up the unreasonable ceiling-less cab fares. Yes, even when you board at MBK or any malls now. For those who have never been to Bangkok and MBK, this mall has everything you need and would cover perhaps 80% of your entire shopping in Bangkok. Hence the taxis that comes in the taxi queue now have only one thing in mind… SLAUGHTER. ‘Cos they know, 9 out of 10 in the queue is definitely a foreigner. So one of this taxi driver met me tonight, as I pretended I cannot speak Thai… tried to slaughter me.
I lined up as usual at the taxi queue around closing time around 10pm. When it was my turn to board, I told the security who will announce to the taxi driver where your hotel is so that they will have no excuse for not knowing where it is. So I boarded the taxi with the top sign turned on (it say metered btw) and I repeated to the driver my hotel name in English and the street name. He drove off, started smiling and said,”Heh heh gimme 200baht ok?” I was shocked and replied,”200baht??? No way! Go by meter!” Then he went on,”Ok ok 150baht!” I replied,”Go by meter if not I’ll get off!” Then he said,”Ok then you gimme how much? 100baht?” I said,”No meter, I get off!” Then he stopped the taxi and said,”Ok get off! I queue again” I told him I’m gonna report this and asked for his car number. He even pointed to me the number! I was so pissed I kicked open the door, told him he’s F#$KED UP and walked off without closing the door! After that I walked back to the taxi stand, the security guard was closing up the stand and got me another taxi and made sure he would go by meter before I got on. I got back to my hotel straight without going in circles (normally they would), and the fare was only 41baht. I gave the driver 60baht and asked him to keep the change. I came back and told the front office ladies about the whole incident, and they clapped and said I was very good and did the right thing!
Well this is not my first time happening to me and all my other friends experience the same shit as well. Obviously this has been reported many times and has been going on for the past 6-8 years? What are the Tourism Board and Land Authority of Thailand doing about this? What is suppose to be a relaxing and pleasant trip to Bangkok, turns out to be a bitter one, full of rage! Even the locals are affected by these blood suckers who are suppose to ferry their passengers safely point to point, going by the correct prices. Luckily for me, I had the last laugh because the queue was closed already and no more passengers, so if the bastard came back after one round, it’ll be an empty run! :)
Just in case the authorities do not know what to do, here are some suggestions:
Suspend the driver’s license for one month for first reported case, 6 months for second offence and 1 year for third time. After which, he/she will not be able to drive anymore.
Make first offenders serve the one month suspension above at the malls blowing the whistle and announcing the names of the hotels of every passenger.
Make second offenders wash 50 taxis daily for 6 months.
If need other suggestions, please let me know, my friends will be standing by with lots of ideas.
For foreigners in Bangkok for holidays or business:
Insist on going by meter for all cabs!
Tuk tuk rides should NOT be more than 100baht. 50bahts for less than 2km distance.
Do not oblige by going to visit some temples, jewellery shops, souvenir shops, etc. These drivers will get 5-10baht petrol vouchers if they bring you there and you must stay there for at least half an hour. The sales people are damn good at what they do, they’ll have a way to convince you to buy something.
Taxi from airport will go by meter as the ladies at the counter will write the name of your hotel to the drivers. If they wanna go by highway, then you’ll have to pay for the toll fees for a few more tenths.
Taxi to the airport from city should not be more than 300baht, including toll fees.
If only everyone do what I did; that is, do not encourage these drivers to cheat and reward those who didn’t, then they will wake up their ideas and turn on the meter without a doubt whenever someone comes on board! It is so bad now that the driver is not even afraid of complains anymore… does that mean the authorities do not have any power over them? If the authorities do not do anything soon, the Land of SMILES will not be a nice place to visit anymore because the ones SMILING are the tuk tuk and cab drivers, with a long sword waiting to slaughter any foreigners.
Sounds scary right? Then do something about it by sharing with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, Weibo, etc… so that more people know how to react when they encounter during their visit to Bangkok. At the same time, I really hope this blog reaches the eyes of the authorities. Don’t get me wrong, I love Thailand. My relatives are here and loads of friends too. Just that some black sheep are making Bangkok really ugly and in the long run, will affect the livelihood and economy of Thailand.