The taxi drivers massed in front of the Central Festival building at about 3:30pm, calling for the mall’s management to end the free shuttle service from hotels around the island, saying that the service severely affected their incomes.
Not allowing the situation to escalate, Central Phuket Assistant General Manager Kitt Thivavipat presented himself just 10 minutes later to talk with the taxi drivers.
By 4:15pm, a delegation of 20 of the drivers, led by Thammarat Suwanphosri, known for operating the local news Spotlight Thailand Facebook page (@spotlightphuket), relocated to continue the talks in a meeting room inside the complex.
Present to witness proceedings was Future Forward party list MP Rangsiman Rome, and a local police officer to ensure talks remained cordial.
At 5:50pm the group had reached an agreement: Central will cease its free shuttle service from all hotels on the island except Central Group’s own Centara hotel franchise.
It was also agreed that staff from the Central Phuket mall will explain the new arrangement to taxi drivers who provide services from in front of Centara hotels across the island.
Management at Central Phuket have been asked for a formal statement regarding the new agreement, but have yet to reply.