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Commuters Hearten Airport Bus Operator

Commuters Hearten Airport Bus Operator

Sunday, August 4, 2013
PHUKET: A group of five regular passengers who now commute on Phuket's airport bus each day from Thalang to work in Patong have given heart to the service contractor.

''The bus ride is cheap, safe, and saves them money,'' operator Prakorb Panyawai said. ''That's what they told me.''

Efforts are now being made to give the Airport-Patong service the boost it needs to become a transport alternative for more tourists and residents.

Phuket airport GM Prathuang Somkhom told Phuketwan that Airports of Thailand, which manages the airport, was ''very happy'' to provide proper signage inside the facility and to improve lighting at the bus stop.

But he added that many tourists would continue to take taxis from the airport to Phuket's west coast, particularly if they had a lot of luggage.

Others might find the bus less convenient, he said, although the bus service has his ''100 percent support.''

''It's the beginning of the project and it will take time to develop,'' he said. Numbers have been low since the innovative service began on July 19.

''Governor Maitree Intrusud has visited the airport about three times already to check on the progress of the bus,'' the GM said. ''It's plain that the service has his full support.''

But there's a disagreement between Khun Prakorb and Khun Prathuang over what's possible directly outside the airport exit.

Khun Prakorb wants to set up a small table ''just so tourists know'' that there's an alternative to the taxis. Khun Prathuang remains reluctant to provide one.

However, Khun Prakorb remains optimistic and says his previous experience with Phuket to Krabi minivans has taught him that establishing a new service and winning customers takes time.

''I am sure business will be better when the high season arrives,'' he said. ''I am prepared to keep going. I believe it will work.''

Comments

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Good luck to you Khun Prakorb, hope you will succeed.

Posted by Sherlock on August 4, 2013 16:14

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When I read this article, it makes me feel that the bus operator is a man with a warm and patient heart. A lot of people wish that he can extend his business all over Phuket, because what those 5 regular passengers say, should be said by thousands of others, like schoolchildren for example, that have to ride motorbikes every day, and risk life and limp, to get to school. And the bus stops should be spread all over the island over time. My sincere best wishes for Mr. Prakorb.

Posted by Charles on August 4, 2013 16:34

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Nice to read that K Prakorb is more optimistic than he was a couple of weeks ago - I really hope this service can be the thin end of the wedge that is needed to kick start public transport in Phuket.

I plan to use this service at the end of the month - I just hope I can find where in the airport the bus waits, as I don't expect any help from the touts.

Posted by Mister Ree on August 4, 2013 17:38

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Step by step. Signs are just the beginning and if there are 5 regulars already after just a couple of days, more are sure to come soon.

Posted by Jakub P. on August 4, 2013 18:15

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A bus service as this is great for the solo travelers, backpackers, and local Phuket people. But looking at the website, the time table has all of the stops in Thais only, not easy for foreigners to understand where and what. And, budget airlines like Air Asia, Nok, Tigers etc. scheduled flights departure & arrival early mornings and late evenings. A study of those flights probably can fill 8-10 seats for each bus. Just my 2 satang thought!

Posted by tdo on August 4, 2013 20:01

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Currently I think there is a person sitting with a sign saying "Bus to Patong" when you exit arrivals turn left and they are under the bridge at the end of the concourse, about 20m. I hope the DSI will look into pushing this brave and life changing transport. As Charles mentioned children could now move around more safely and also in groups, just one sector of Phuket society to benefit. Khun Prakorb deserves the support of Bangkok and a certificate of merit for his hard work.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on August 4, 2013 20:17

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Good luck

Posted by bob on August 6, 2013 03:21


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