Koh Larn ferry operators under spotlight for overcharging

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Koh Larn ferry operators are being criticized for allegedly overcharging passengers, violating fare rules for children, and causing confusion by not putting vessel numbers on tickets, causing some passengers to board the wrong boat. Boat operators tried to defend their positions, but Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh insisted they follow the law. (Photo by Urasin Khantaraphan)

Koh Larn ferry operators are being criticized for allegedly overcharging passengers and violating fare rules for children.

After a string of complaints about overcharging by boat operations at Bali Hai pier, Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh called a meeting to address the issue. But only 12 boat operators showed up.

Koh Larn ferry operators are being criticized for allegedly overcharging passengers, violating fare rules for children, and causing confusion by not putting vessel numbers on tickets, causing some passengers to board the wrong boat. Boat operators tried to defend their positions, but Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh insisted they follow the law. (Photo by Urasin Khantaraphan)Koh Larn ferry operators are being criticized for allegedly overcharging passengers, violating fare rules for children, and causing confusion by not putting vessel numbers on tickets, causing some passengers to board the wrong boat. Boat operators tried to defend their positions, but Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh insisted they follow the law. (Photo by Urasin Khantaraphan)

He said a city inspector, on April 13, found evidence that those complaining were justified after he was charged 100 baht for a 30-baht ticket to the island.

Furthermore, the deputy mayor said, ferry boats are charging children under 1.2 meters tall full-fare, instead of a reduced rate as required.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh.Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh.

Boats from Bali Hai ply routes to two piers on Koh Larn: Na Baan and Had Tawaen Beach, seven and four times a day, respectively. Return trips are offered nine and five times each. The regulated fare is 30 baht, with small children getting a lower rate and kids taking the ferry to attend school on the mainland free.

The few boat operators who attended opposed offering reduced fares for children under 1.2 meters tall, saying their boats held only 120 people and if they didn’t charge kids a full fare, they’d simply up the price for all passengers.

Ronakit insisted the boat operators follow the law.

He also said ferry operators are causing confusion and problems among tourists by not putting vessel numbers on tickets, causing passengers to board the wrong boat and ending up in the wrong place.

Ronakit noted that rules also require all passengers to wear life vests. If any boat is involved in an accident and it is found that the operator did not follow regulations, the insurance company would not pay for damages, injury and loss of life, he said.