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Honest & reliable taxis in Bangkok

Honest & reliable taxis in Bangkok

Old Nov 15, 06, 2:16 am
  #1  
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Honest & reliable taxis in Bangkok

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There have been countless, horror stories on this forum and others about taxis in Bangkok.
Here's an easy, reliable, solution to that problem: select or call for a HOWA taxi.
They are the most reliable, most honest, taxi organization in Bangkok.

Look for bright green taxis: solid green, almost fluorescent colour, (NO yellow).

One HOWA driver told me they have 1,700 cars.
Taxis are recent models, spotlessly clean.
All the drivers I've seen, wear a tan uniform shirt, with name in English (and Thai) embroidered over the pocket.
Each driver has name cards (business cards) with his name and mobile phone number.
Drivers go out of their way to be polite and helpful; some even provide magazines for passengers to read.

But they rarely cruise the streets, trolling for pickup fares, so if you are waiting on the pavement, it is difficult to find a HOWA taxi that is available (showing the red light).
Why?
HOWA Taxi is unique in that they have a careful marketing plan that focuses on up-scale locations and phone bookings.
They wait near 5-star hotels, private hospitals and major office buildings.
When you ask the doorman at one of their contract locations for a taxi, they call HOWA.
That's how I discovered them.
HOWA always keeps a few taxis waiting behind each location, so the service is quick.
Yet, they use the same meter rates as all other taxis in Bangkok.

You can call by phone, and they will dispatch a taxi from their nearest waiting location.
There is an extra charge of 20 baht added to the regular, meter, fare.
Call center operator speaks basic English.

In my experience, HOWA taxis always use the meter.
Never experienced any haggling or any "funny stuff" about the fare.
Never any diversions to gem shops or massage.

I live in Bangkok.
If I just want a short ride to Tesco/Lotus, I will stand on the pavement and wave my hand for any passing taxi.
But for longer trips, or if several stops along the way, I always call HOWA.
In addition to trips around town, I've reserved HOWA taxis to Hua Hin -- three hours each way.
Pickup exactly on time both in Bangkok and for the return trip coming from Hua Hin.

How do I know all this?
Because on those three-hour trips to and from Hua Hin the driver explained it to me.
And I've since confirmed bits of the story with other drivers.

HOWA Taxi Bangkok phone: 02-424-2222.
No web site.

- Peter
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Old Nov 15, 06, 11:38 am
  #2  
 
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I've taken solid green, blue/red, yellow/green taxies, and never had a problem. But I've never taken taxi to outside BKK, so if I do so, I'll keep this in mind.
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Old Nov 16, 06, 12:25 am
  #3  
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Info. could be dated:

Private Taxi => Green & Yellow, owner operated
Taxi companies with fewer than 1,000 taxis (e.g. Nakhonchai) => Bright Blue & Red
Taxis from companies with more than 1,000 taxis:
Thai taxi Cooperative Co Ltd: Dark Blue body with White medallion/insignia
Boworn taxi Co Ltd: Orange body with White medallion/insignia
Laemthong Taxi Cooperative CoLtd: Violet body with white medallion/insignia
Suvannabhum Taxi Cooperative [Thai agency of Howa Taxi]:
Green Body with white medallion/insignia
Samaggitham Taxi Cooperative: Yellow body with green medallion/insignia
Thai H Leasing Co Ltd: Bright Blue Body with white medallion/insignia

There are many radio-dispatch services. I use one ~ 95% of the time when originating from my home, they set up a password for me, so have my exact location. It usually takes 15 min. for a cab to arrive. Sometimes, however there are no cabs available, for various reasons. There is a 20 baht charge for this service, payable over and above the meter. I use this service as it is ~ 10 minute walk out to a street where I can flag a taxi.

I've made hundreds and hundreds of taxi trips here and never once had any issues with scams, not using the meter, etc.

Some dispatch services:

Howa: 02 615 7117
Siam Taxi Co-op: 1661
Taxi Radio: 1681
Bangkok Taxi Co-op: 02 880 0888
Nakonchai Taxi Radio Network: 02 878 9000
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Old Nov 16, 06, 12:29 am
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Even though they're not always sparking new, I still have the best luck with the red/blue and green/yellow taxi's. No nonsense most of the time, which is always nice.
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Old Nov 16, 06, 3:02 am
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likewise never had a problem in bkk with taxis. last trip i took a blue/red one to ayuthya for a few hours.
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Old Nov 16, 06, 7:14 pm
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Question for Peter4

When you use HOWA taxi for a long trip like Hua Hin, do they use the meter or do they quote a set price? Do you prearrange the trip or just wait until the taxi shows up and tell him where you want to go? About how much would a trip to Hua Hin cost? Do you book the return trip at the same time as the outbound trip? The last time I went to Hua Hin I booked a limo. The driver drove like a maniac and the car had bad shocks (it rocked and rolled the whole trip.) I am looking for a better experience the next trip. Your advice on this forum is appreciated.
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Old Nov 17, 06, 12:55 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by mgmsteven
When you use HOWA taxi for a long trip like Hua Hin, do they use the meter or do they quote a set price?
I requested and received a set price.

Originally Posted by mgmsteven
Do you prearrange the trip or just wait until the taxi shows up and tell him where you want to go?
I prearranged -- called two days in advance.

Originally Posted by mgmsteven
About how much would a trip to Hua Hin cost?
Quoted 1,800 baht each way.
(Got the impression price was negotiable, but it 1,800 was already acceptable to me.)
Including tip, I paid 2,000 baht total each way.
Plus, outbound, we stopped to eat at a roadside restaurant.
On the return trip, we stopped to buy "kanom".
Of course, I paid for drivers' food and a package of kanom for him, too.

Originally Posted by mgmsteven
Do you book the return trip at the same time as the outbound trip?
Could have, but did not.
I was pleased with that driver, so, on arrival for the outbound trip, I scheduled return trip with him .

Originally Posted by mgmsteven
The last time I went to Hua Hin I booked a limo. The driver drove like a maniac and the car had bad shocks (it rocked and rolled the whole trip.) I am looking for a better experience the next trip.
That is exactly what happened to me a few months before!
I booked a "limo" at a nearby hotel.
Maybe we had the same car?
We got there, but it was a very UN-pleasant, three-hour, drive.
So I canceled the return with that limo, and we came back on the inter-city bus.
(The inter-city bus between Hua Hin and Bangkok is not pleasant either, for many reasons.)

Another HOWA tidbit:
Yesterday, going on a short trip, I waved down a taxi in front of my building -- only after getting in did I notice it was HOWA.
I was surprised to see a HOWA taxi trolling the streets for fares.
Also surprised that the driver was not wearing a uniform shirt and the seats did not have their usual, cloth covers.
My girl friend inquired in Thai.
The driver explained on that day his seat covers and uniform shirts were at the laundry.
With no seat covers and no uniform he did not meet the quality standard to serve the 5-star hotels, so he went looking for fares on the streets.

I appreciate high quality standards like that.

-- Peter
.

Last edited by Peter4; Nov 17, 06 at 1:05 am
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Old Nov 21, 06, 10:54 am
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I got frustrated with several legit Taxi-Meter cars this past June.

We were leaving the night market and returning to the Peninsula.

No less than 5 taxis refused to use the meter-they said its too late for the meter etc.

We were getting tired so I worked a price with a driver that was more than the meter but no tip.
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Old Nov 21, 06, 12:10 pm
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Unless you speak pretty good Thai and know a bit about the taxi game late at night (preying on tourists who don't speak Thai), you will be at a disadvantage in getting back to a hotel, especially a fancy hotel on the other side of the river like the Peninsula.

Just one of those instances where it's probably better to do what you did, negotiate some kind of fair price for such transport.

Late at night, if you know the hours of BTS, for example, you could think about taking the BTS to a closer destination and seeking a taxi ride from that location. As it would be away from the late night tourist areas, chances are the driver would be more likely to use the meter.

If you are in the bar areas like Nana or Soi Cowboy or Patpong, the best advice to get a taxi to use his meter would be to walk a hundred yards or more on one of the main roads before hailing a taxi.

Those that "hover" near the bar areas at night are almost always going to insist on quoting a fixed price of a few hundred baht, at a minimum.

Again, you are pretty much at a disadvantage. These drivers know there'll be more tourists along pretty quickly, many with female company, so they're happy to turn you down.
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Old Nov 23, 06, 12:40 pm
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Just got to Bangkok... got a metered cab starting at 35 Baht for a trip to Silom, and excluding the 25+40 Baht tolls, the total came to about 470 baht, which seemed high compared to some other reports here. I couldn't tell if I was being taken for a long way around the city, because I don't know my way around here, but I guess US$15 isn't so bad for a 40km journey.
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Old Nov 24, 06, 1:37 am
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Originally Posted by UnitedSkies
Just got to Bangkok... got a metered cab starting at 35 Baht for a trip to Silom, and excluding the 25+40 Baht tolls, the total came to about 470 baht, which seemed high compared to some other reports here. I couldn't tell if I was being taken for a long way around the city, because I don't know my way around here, but I guess US$15 isn't so bad for a 40km journey.
That's certainly within reason for a taxi from the new airport to Silom.

I wonder what time of day.
Silom is the most dense area of Bangkok, with the most congested traffic at all times.
If rush hour, or required some backing-and-filling around one-way streets to get to your hotel in Silom, then that fare for UnitedSkies sounds just right.

I measured in Google Earth: 40 Km is accurate, too.

As in most cities, taxi drivers here have good information about where the traffic jams and construction delays are located at any time of day.
In many hundreds of taxi rides in Bangkok, I've never been "taken for a ride".
But, sometimes, if the driver is aware of a traffic jam, he will explain the problem and then say, "We go expressway, okay, na?"
Might cost a little extra, but gets me there sooner.
The driver is happy, and I'm happy.

Reading thru these postings, and from personal experience, it is becoming more clear to me:
Once in a taxi and well underway, there is rarely a scam.
The scams usually start before getting in the taxi, or as soon as the ride starts.
I want to recognize those early warning signs of scams, and how to avoid them.

-- Peter

Last edited by Peter4; Nov 24, 06 at 1:48 am
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Old Nov 28, 06, 9:35 am
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Originally Posted by Mr. Vker
We were leaving the night market and returning to the Peninsula. No less than 5 taxis refused to use the meter-they said its too late for the meter etc.
This is a fairly standard problem with the taxis cruising Silom and Suriwongse near the night market and bars. Unless I'm really exhausted (or mao nitnoy), I walk over to Rama IV where it is quite easy to find a taxi using the meter.
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Old Nov 30, 06, 12:46 am
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Originally Posted by Rampo View Post
This is a fairly standard problem with the taxis cruising Silom and Suriwongse near the night market and bars. Unless I'm really exhausted (or mao nitnoy), I walk over to Rama IV where it is quite easy to find a taxi using the meter.
I just keep asking, and asking, and asking. If they give me a good flat rate, I'll often take it, even if it's a few baht more.

Best advice is to find a taxi that is dropping a customer off.
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Old Nov 30, 06, 11:44 pm
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. . .

Last edited by Peter4; Dec 1, 06 at 5:43 am Reason: (duplicate post)
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Old Nov 30, 06, 11:49 pm
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Originally Posted by seanthepilot View Post
Best advice is to find a taxi that is dropping a customer off.
Brilliant! _ ^

Fits everything I've observed about taxis in Bangkok.
Wish I'd thought to make that connection.

Thank you, seanthepilot.

-- Peter
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