Tuk tuk driver faces 90 day suspension for overcharging tourists

Photo of Nattapong Westwood
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Image courtesy of Khaosod

In a recent development, the tuk tuk driver who overcharged a group of Japanese tourists has been summoned for further questioning on the incident following a swift response from transportation authorities. The driver demanded a fare of 1,500 baht per person for a short journey from Asoke to Thanon Thaniya, totalling a hefty 6,000 baht for the four passengers.

In response to the recent exploitation of Japanese tourists, the Department of Land Transport (DLT) took disciplinary action against the tuk tuk driver.

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The DLT yesterday, May 14, summoned the driver for questioning. The driver admitted to carrying out the actions as shown in the media. After consideration of the matter, his actions were deemed as a violation of the Motor Vehicle Act of 2522.

The penalties included a fine of 2,000 baht for overcharging, a 500 baht fine for a dress code violation, a 90-day suspension of the driver’s license, and a mandatory three-hour training session on service consciousness for passenger care.

However, it remains uncertain whether the money was returned to the tourists following the blatant, illegal scam.

The Public Passenger Vehicle Protection Center played a pivotal role in addressing the incident. Nikorn Chamnong, Director of the Thai Nation Development Party and former Deputy Minister of Transport, yesterday expressed his immense concern over the incident.

Disturbed by the act

He recounts that the complaints online by Japanese tourists about being unfairly treated by the tuk tuk driver had immensely disturbed him.

Nikorn recalled a tragedy from around 2003 when a brake failure on an old public bus led to a fatal accident that claimed the lives of two nurses in Samut Prakan. This event prompted him to establish the Passenger Protection Centre, aimed at improving safety and service standards across all forms of public transport, including buses, taxis, and tuk tuks.

He expressed relief that the issue was addressed promptly. Further planning to issue a formal apology to the Japanese Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Mr. OTAKA Masato during his formal reception at Okura Prestige Hotel on May 28, reported Khaosod.

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He also praised the effectiveness of the Passenger Protection Centre, which he established and designed the logo for, emphasising that it continues to serve Thai citizens and guests of the country well, suggesting that increased public awareness of the centre’s services would further benefit the community.

In the wake of this incident, the enforcement of fair pricing and ethical conduct among public transport operators has been highlighted as a priority.

The swift resolution serves as a reminder of the importance of regulatory bodies in safeguarding tourists and citizens against exploitation. The Passenger Protection Center’s role in such situations is crucial, demonstrating its continued relevance and importance in the Thai transport ecosystem.

 

ORIGINAL STORY: Japanese tourist’s 6,000 baht tuk tuk ripoff shocker in Bangkok

A Japanese tourist shared a truly shocking experience on social media yesterday, detailing how they were ripped off by an unscrupulous Bangkok tuk tuk driver. The tourist was charged an extortionate 6,000 baht (US$162) for a trip from Asoke to the Sala Daeng area, a journey that would normally cost around 32 baht on the BTS Skytrain.

Travelling in a group of four, the Japanese travellers opted for a traditional Bangkok experience by utilising the local tuk tuk service, only to be severely overcharged by the driver.

Travelling from Asoke to Thaniya shopping centre in Sala Daeng, each of the tourists was charged 1,500 baht, adding up to a total of 6,000 baht in a trip that would normally be no more than 32 baht each if they had taken the Bangkok BTS Skytrain.

The poster revealed he has made frequent business trips to Thailand over the past seven years, demonstrating how even the most familiarised travellers could still fall for the criminal tactics used by some of the capital’s tuk tuk drivers.

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The mass criticism deriving the post mainly highlights the effects of how overcharging tourists and the lack of transparency regarding prices on many taxi services may inadvertently discourage tourists from utilising the services in the future.

The ongoing issues with taxi services overcharging customers, especially foreign tourists, demonstrate how this act could further negatively impact not only the quickly declining traditional taxi services industry but Thailand’s tourism industry in its entirety.

Foreign tourists

This isn’t an isolated incident. Taxi drivers and tuk tuk drivers have form for ripping off foreign tourists. Objections and challenges are met with anything from a shrug of the shoulders to acts of violence.

Only recently, an English traveller in Phuket had a troubling confrontation with a local tuk tuk driver over a fare dispute. The incident, which has been widely shared on social media platforms, shows the tourist physically assaulting the driver after accusing him of withholding change.

Yesterday, a Thai woman took to social media to accuse a tuk tuk driver on Bangla Road in Phuket of overcharging her foreign friend and attacking her after they refused the service.

The Thai woman, Kanyasiri Sisuwan, shared the story about the tuk tuk driver on Facebook. She said she wanted to seek justice for herself and for tuk tuk drivers in Phuket to respect passengers’ choices.

The Government of Thailand promised to crack down on unscrupulous tuk tuk and taxi drivers.

In February, in a move to safeguard tourists’ wallets, Bangkok unveiled an arsenal of measures to tackle the notorious tuk tuk and taxi overcharging crisis.

These measures do not appear to have worked and Thailand’s taxi drivers continue to escape their criminal practices.

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