''We are introducing a voucher system so that there will be one counter for everyone coming off the buses,'' Transport Director Wanta Pumararoskon told a planning meeting today. ''At that counter, we will issue vouchers for taxis, tuk-tuks and motorcycle taxis.''
The plan for careful management of onward transport from the new bus terminal represents the best opportunity in years to tame the monopoly maintained by the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers of Phuket.
They have driven fares sky-high, far beyond the reach of locals and barely within the reach of most tourists.
Khun Wanta says that only drivers who conform to agreed fares will be allowed to operate from the T2 terminus when it opens on Saturday with the 5am bus to Ranong the first to head off Phuket.
Illegal taxis operating from the present bus terminal in Phuket Town will be allowed to transfer to the new T2 in Thepkasattri Road, Rassada - provided they become legal in the meantime.
Phuketwan readers will recall that our Phuket Person of the Year 2011 - tour office worker Surinporn Saandluam - won the accolade because she stood up to the T1 taxi drivers.
They wanted to mislead tourists and sell them expensive rides when all the visitors wanted was advice on which bus to catch. Khun Surinporn was threatened and struck in the face for telling the taxi drivers that what they were doing was wrong.
Ninety motorcycle riders from T1 are to transfer to T2 and 30 more riders from the Rassada district will be added. Eleven tuk-tuks are also to transfer to T2.
Khun Wanta said the newly elected mayor and council in Rassada were offering to help in any way they could to make sure the new T2 terminus set fresh standards for Phuket.
The Transport Department is running T2 and will hand over to Rassada council once the early stages have been completed. A two million baht food court has yet to be developed.
''Both the Transport Department and Rassada municipality are keen to have local residents as involved as they can be in setting the fares for motorcycles, tuk-tuks and taxis,'' Khun Wanta said.
The Transport Department has been the prime mover in attempting to reform Phuket's public transport system, proposing call centres for taxis and new bus routes to Phuket's west coast holiday destinations of Patong, Karon, Kamala and Kata from Phuket International Airport.
Once the new bus terminal opens, a new 10 baht pink bus service will connect T2 and T1 every 15 minutes. The old Phang Nga Road terminus will be the departure and arrival point for all buses travelling around Phuket and to the nerighboring province of Phang Nga.
Between 10pm and 5am, all arriving Bangkok and inter-provincial buses on Phuket will continue to use T1.
If what I read here is correct and is implemented as planned it is a huge step in the right direction to improve transport services on the island.
Just hope the set fares are reasonable for the distance traveled and not like the "set fares" in Patong.
Posted by innocent bystander on April 18, 2012 14:28