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Phuket traffic: answers may be on the way with Bangkok's help

Phuket Public Transport Breakthrough: Yingluck Summit Backs Funding

Friday, June 8, 2012
PHUKET: A proper public transport system for Phuket is likely to be fast-tracked following a summit of Andaman governors in Bangkok with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday.

The gathering also looked with great interest at plans for a fast-rail link between Phuket's neighboring holiday provinces of Krabi and Phang Nga, and a branch track from Phang Nga to Phuket.

Talk of the rail links is likely to rekindle discussion about the future of aviation traffic on Phuket, where the existing airport will reach maximum capacity of 12.5 million passengers in 2015.

The option of expanding Krabi International Airport and speeding passengers by fast-train to Phuket remains on the table.

Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha has made no secret of his desire to have a Phuket public transport fully funded and lock into a timetable before he retires aged 60 in September.

Leaving Phuket with a legacy of a potential permanent solution to its public transport woes wound be a fitting highlight on which to depart.

While the tendering process still has some way to go, it's understood one Chinese investor has been showing great interest in packaging several project in Thailand in a group development.

The possibility exists for the contract to build the fast-rail between Bangkok and Ayudthaya - Thailand's candidate for World Expo 2020 - to be extended to the proposed Phuket network and the province-to-province links north of Phuket.

A fast-rail link between Bangkok and Phuket, which would also pose a partial solution to Phuket's air traffic problem, seems to now be out of the question.

Prime Minister Yingluck's historic visit for a Cabinet meeting on Phuket earlier this year appears to have confirmed the government's interest in bolstering Phuket - and with it Andaman tourism.

Time and again, whenever there has been political upheaval or a disaster like last year's floods, Phuket has remained the safe and secure alternative to maintain Thai tourism traffic.

Largely ignored even by governments led by the yellow-tinged Democrat Party, it now appears as if the Phuket region is to be given what it needs by the present red-shaded government.

Politics, of course, have nothing to do with the common need to make sure Thailand's tourism future is secured by addressing Phuket's major deficiencies.

The tendering process is likely to involve as many as 15 potential light-rail developers.

What has yet to be made clear is how the key imperative for Phuket - taking tourists directly to Phuket's holiday west coast as fast as possible - works with any fixed route going the long way through Phuket City, on the east coast, the other side of Phuket.

Buses or taxis down the west coast road are always going to be faster.

The other key issue is how Phuket's population, forced for generations to adopt motorcycles as the only convenient means of transport, can now be weaned off two wheels and onto a safer, less conjestive public transport system.

Still, yesterday's summit in Bangkok marked a large stride in the right direction in the saga of Phuket's public transport. It is not known whether tuk-tuks and jet-skis were mentioned.

Solving the present crisis of floods in Chumporn blocking the main road route between Ranong and Bangkok is also certain to have been discussed yesterday.

Improving the roads north from Phuket through Phang Nga to Ranong on the border with Burma would open the entire Andaman coast to rapid tourism development.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Plans to develop A fast railway-link has nothing to do with solving CURRENT problems. The Railway is a solution for the far future. We have troubles now! Don't give the mafia another 10 or 15 years to rip off the people. And start naming & shaming the Tuk Tuk licence owners. They are part of this system.

Posted by PhuketExpat on June 8, 2012 11:26

Editor Comment:

No shame in making the system work to your benefit, PhuketExpat. Try looking forward, not back. You're another one who expects a lot without first paying his/her 20-year subscription.

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Interesting project and absolutely useful to the region, let's see where the project is in 6 months time...concerning the local transport then the local authorities should have taken care of this years ago but no progress, except for the pink busses, has been made, so Bangkok may have to sort this local problem out as well ...

Posted by Bjarne on June 8, 2012 12:23

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20 year what? the guest comment makes sense but the editors? not sure.

Why not name the tuk tuk licensers?

Posted by J on June 8, 2012 12:42

Editor Comment:

s-u-b-s-c-r-i-p-t-i-o-n. Pay for your news service from Phuketwan, and we'll consider all your requests.

If what you get is free, you don't really have the right to ask us to do more.

The tuk-tuk licensers have done nothing illegal. For anonymous commenters named J and the like to demand other people should be named is stretching things a bit.

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To buy buses, can be achieved in a couple a months which would ease all the problems. To start thinking of high-end rail systems is unrealistic. Look at all the trouble the rail companies have right now making links between other provinces, and that's been going on for years.

Buses - Easy solving problem.
Or lets just wait for Teleportation...

Posted by Tbs on June 8, 2012 17:06

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It is totally moronic to bring a 20 year subscription into this discussion.

Posted by Subscribed on June 8, 2012 20:38


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