An 18 month dispute between taxi drivers and tour bus operators in Phuket, Thailand came to a head today when a group of 180 taxi drivers blocked the port entrance as Silversea’s Silver Spirit docked in the port for the first time.
The Silver Spirit, Silversea’s newest ship, stopped in Phuket today as part of her inaugural 119-day World Cruise.
Basically, the taxi drivers feel that large tour bus operators are a threat to their livelihood. They probably are.
According to a local Phuket newspaper, taxi fares are on par with developed countries, but locally they do not service their vehicles often, have sub-standard conditions in the taxis, and most don’t have insurance.
The Silver Spirit docked at 8am with plans for 475 passengers to take buses to Phuket City and Patong. After four hours of bargaining, the bus operators agreed to let the taxi operators take 250 passengers.
However, the ship is set to sail at 2pm local time, so many opted to just stay on the ship while in port.
90% of the people on board are American. The U.S. Navy has a presence at the port but their role in the matter is unclear, if nothing else than to keep the peace.