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How the freshly printed Airport to Patong bus tickets will look

Bus Service Spells Trouble: Taxi Warning

Friday, July 12, 2013
PHUKET: Many taxi and tuk-tuk drivers in Patong are unaware that the innovative Phuket Airport-Patong-Airport bus service is beginning next Friday and one is warning of potential violence.

Although the low-cost hop-on hop-off bus service begins in less than a week, Phuketwan discovered today that no precautions have been taken to ''sell'' the project to Patong tuk-tuk and taxi drivers.

One Patong taxi group leader, Vichai Maiseetong, said today when asked about the effects of the bus service: ''Surely there are going to be problems.''

Khun Vichai appeared not to not be aware that the service is beginning on Friday. A Phuketwan reporter chose not to enlighten him.

He said today that both a Phuket airport to Patong bus service and the proposed water ferry from the airport had the potential to cut into the income of local taxi drivers.

''Fighting is how disputes are settled in the Patong area,'' he said. Some locals were already struggling to make ends meet, he said.

Chanon, who prefers to use one name and runs the tuk-tuk stand at Jungceylon shopping centre in Patong, said the buses would have no real effect on his drivers.

''Mostly their fares are people leaving Jungceylon,'' he said.

Khun Vichai was less sanguine. He said that Phuket was now being run by profit-taking business people, mentioning how Russians now ran all businesses dealing with tourists from that country.

''We local people are being cut out of the market without revenue going to us or to Thailand,'' he said.

It came as a surprise to Phuketwan reporters that nobody has briefed the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers in Patong by telling them that the bus service does not pose a threat.

A bus service between Patong and Karon came to an abrupt end back in the 1990s when a driver was beaten.

Planning is going ahead with tickets to be sold by conductors on the buses and from a service outlet on the concourse close to the exit at Phuket International Airport.

An upgrading to the siteat phuketairportbusexpress.com, where details can be found about stops and fares, is likely to be made early next week.

Marketing officer Rungrat Pakdiwong said that each of the buses would be fitted with a suggestion box so that passengers could immediately deliver feedback on driver and conductor quality and service.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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This is going to end in tears surely?

Posted by Geraint Lewis on July 12, 2013 19:27

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The previous article said that there will be no security on the bus because there hasn't been a threat of violence. I hope they reconsider after reading this article.

Posted by Jon on July 12, 2013 20:25

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Also in a previous article: A date has yet to be set for a public meeting in support of the extension of the service, but Khun Jaturong believes it will happen eventually. And this is now exactly the attitude of the average thai person. " it will happen eventually", but many things never happen by reacting this way. Not that they should have a meeting with the taxi monopoly ( not mafia ). Opening a bus service is a normal thing in a civilized world ... Oh, yeah, I forgot, we are in Phuket....

Posted by Charles on July 12, 2013 20:59

Editor Comment:

You are not qualified to know the ''attitude of the average Thai person.'' The only person you are entitled to speak for is struggling-to-be-average Charles. New bus services are advertised prominently and their virtues discussed in advance in most places.

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Interesting news.

I would have thought tuk-tuk drivers would spot new bus stops the moment they are set up. If the service is to start next week, I thought they were already in place.

The fact that drivers openly admit issues are settled through violence is a sign of how bad the situation has become when they make no bones about admitting it.

Must be some really influential people protecting them for them to feel so emboldened.

I guess next Friday will be a very interesting day for the future of Phuket and it's residents.

I might take a ride to the airport and back just to see what happens and you can be sure anything untoward will be caught on video.

Posted by ThaiMike on July 12, 2013 21:02

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I am thinking about opening a hotel in Patong. Do I have to inform the other hotel owners that in my opinion the proposed business does not pose a threat!

Posted by Amazed in Thailand on July 12, 2013 21:16

Editor Comment:

Only if you plan an airport shuttle.

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I predict busses with police escorts.

Posted by mikey on July 12, 2013 21:33

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'Surely' the police can take early action against anyone making thinly veiled threats against this new bus service before it even gets started?

I would be very interested to see the results of a survey as to how many of the tuk tuk drives are genuinely 'local people', i.e. natives of Phuket.

Posted by Logic on July 12, 2013 21:47

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Having read this article I feel pushed back to the middle age which was governed by the law of the strongest. This taxi guy publicly promotes violence without having to fear any consequences. As long as those people have a say in tourist related activities, this country will never develop further. K.

Posted by Paolo on July 12, 2013 22:46

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Why is the bus not going trough BangTao, Surin, Kamala ? A lot of people stay there.

Posted by Novis on July 12, 2013 22:48

Editor Comment:

Another route is proposed to Kamala.

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Briefing the taxi drivers??? Are you joking Ed? The bus are surely a legit business with license I'm sure. The question should be "is the local police briefed?" They are to uphold the law...

Posted by Swede from Malmo on July 13, 2013 01:24

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well at least they let you still have your own car/scooter

if THAT changes, then I AM starting to get pissed

Posted by steffano on July 13, 2013 01:27

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I'm crying a river here, hearing how hard life is for Tuktuk drivers.

Posted by Tbs on July 13, 2013 07:28

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Rather than having a suggestion box, maybe fit it with CCTV to offer some form of protection for the driver and passengers.

Posted by Tbs on July 13, 2013 07:30

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It seems to me the buses should be a boon to the Patong tuk-tuks. Instead of tourists being taken directly to their hotels by the airport taxi they will be dropped off somewhere that in many cases won't be walking distance to wherever they're staying, so the local tuk-tuks will get fares that they'd not get otherwise. With luggage, even if someone is within 2 blocks of their hotel (and happen to know its location) they're still going to need a lift, and here, even that short distance will cost at least 200???. I can see the airport drivers fighting this, but not the local tuk-tuks, provided they think it through. I laughed when I typed the last clause of the previous sentence, though, I'd think they'll see the advantage of the buses rather quickly.

Posted by Day on July 13, 2013 08:22

Editor Comment:

Yes. The problem is that if the advantages are not explained to the tuk-tuk drivers before friday . . .

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Even the least offensive and least effective route (not going along the west coast inter villages) still causes outrage.

I wonder is the service going to allow hop on and hop off for simply the Karon Patong leg ??

Posted by LivinLOS on July 13, 2013 09:46

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I can't believe anybody really thinks this bus service is going to happen. Pure naivety!

Posted by jimbo on July 13, 2013 10:07

Editor Comment:

Better to be naive than to be in agreement with those who don't want it to happen, jimbo. You're on their team.

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"It came as a surprise to Phuketwan reporters that nobody has briefed the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers in Patong by telling them that the bus service does not pose a threat. "

Of course proper public transport, of which this bus is a step, poses a threat to the tuktuk drivers' income.

Posted by stevenl on July 13, 2013 10:22

Editor Comment:

As other readers have pointed out, it does nothing of the kind. It brings passengers who may have caught taxis at the airport to Patong, where many of them will be obliged to catch taxis or tuk-tuks.

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"don't want it to happen", Ed ?? Your articles are good but your comments are ill-informed rubbish.

Posted by jimbo on July 13, 2013 10:23

Editor Comment:

Unless you have something to add in the way of ideas or additional information, your negative opinion is what constitutes the ''ill-informed rubbish.'' We don't want it. It adds nothing. It's useless.

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My mistake Ed, i thought this was a "Comments" column rather than a forum for "new ideas and additional information" !

Well here's an idea: get the army to run the bus service, with full military protection and heavy penalties to anybody trying to prevent it.

Posted by jimbo on July 13, 2013 10:39

Editor Comment:

Now you're being positive.

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@stevenl"Of course proper public transport, of which this bus is a step, poses a threat to the tuktuk drivers' income."

Kinda strange thing to say, as its very evident that the local drivers can only benefit here from the captive customer base as soon as they step off the bus.

Posted by Mal on July 13, 2013 11:03

Editor Comment:

Did you realise you were saying something positive, Mal, or did that just slip out?

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A sure fire way for this service to work is to have:
The 2 Phuket MP's.
Senator (?)
TAT direcor
Minister for Tourism
Phuket Airport Director
Governor
Phuket Chief of Police
All riding the first bus.
Surely the loss of face, should thhe service fail due to protests, would be too great?
The alternative, and what is far more likely to happen, i'm afraid, is drivers being abused, vehicles damaged, roads blocked and the service terminated - all under a huge media, both national and international, frenzy.
The authorities realy need to pull their heads out of their behinds and make this work.

Posted by Peter on July 13, 2013 11:35

Editor Comment:

You've just written our next phuketwan opinion column.

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Editor Comment:
Did you realise you were saying something positive, Mal, or did that just slip out?

haha not a slip at all, and positive? yes, because it is a known fact, thats all.

Posted by Mal on July 13, 2013 11:36

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"As other readers have pointed out, it does nothing of the kind. It brings passengers who may have caught taxis at the airport to Patong, where many of them will be obliged to catch taxis or tuk-tuks."

Yes, and in the short term that is thought correctly. In the long term though of course a step in the direction of proper public transport poses a threat to tuktuk drivers.

Posted by stevenl on July 13, 2013 12:25

Editor Comment:

Yes, just like people who choose to walk.

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@stevenl "Yes, and in the short term that is thought correctly. In the long term though of course a step in the direction of proper public transport poses a threat to tuktuk drivers."

Do you mean yes or no?

Not at all a threat to the Patong tuk tuks [which is who we are talking about]
A few airport taxis will miss out but as i said the Patong tuk tuks will definately benefit.
Your argument is not valid, you seem to be like a dog chasing its tail,all over the place,so not much sense at all in your comments.

Posted by Mal on July 13, 2013 18:47

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As briefly as possible I would like to say I do enjoy reading The Phuket Wan, much more so than other online/printed newspapers . . . (moderated).

Posted by Michael Spigarolo on July 25, 2013 12:36

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Michael, that's briefly enough. we're just not interested in the rest. If you want to criticise us at such length and so unreasonably, feel free to do so on your own site. Call us ''unprofessional'' anywhere we see or hear it and we'll sue you.

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I have to say that the information here was the most complete that I found anywhere. I am definitely bookmarking this to come back and read later.

Posted by AndersonSmith on May 29, 2014 13:38

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AndersonSmith, you're relying on information that's almost 12 months old... good luck, I hope you don't always plan so "well."

Posted by Laurie Howells on May 29, 2014 16:24


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