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PHUKET: Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura’s October 31 call for a service counter for metered taxis to be installed inside the terminal at Phuket International Airport has stalled, with his request yet to be reviewed by the Airports Authority of Thailand (AAT) headquarters in Bangkok.

Gov Udomsak called for meter taxis to have a counter at the airport within two weeks following a meeting with Airport Director Sq/Ldr Pornchai Eua-aree, Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Decha Budnampeth, Theerayuth Prasertphol of the Phuket Province Transportation Office (PPTO), and representatives of Phuket’s sole meter taxi association.

However, Sq/Ldr Pornchai Eua-aree told the Gazette that he was still waiting for the resolution’s approval from the PPTO, which K. Theerayuth said should arrive by Wednesday.

“I’m not promising that I can do this in a hurry as the final decision rests with the AAT HQ in Bangkok, but we’re happy to follow up if we can,” Sq/Ldr Pornchai said.

However, Sq/Ldr Pornchai added that he did not see a favorable outcome for the request. “We cannot allow a taxi meter desk inside the terminal itself because we have agreed to a concession of limousine drivers only inside the building, but we plan to have one just outside, next to the terminal door,” he said.

A date has yet to be set for a final decision by the AAT in Bangkok.

The ferrying of tourist arrivals from the airport has long been the domain of limousine drivers, and is a lucrative business. The AAT receives nearly a million baht a month from legitimate operators for the exclusive privilege of doing so.

Tempers flared in December 2000, when an argument over a fare resulted in a legitimate limousine driver being beaten to death by an illegal taxi driver in front of the airport. Attempts by the provincial government to resolve the problem have persisted since.