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Resolving Phuket's traffic issues would solve most problems

Phuket Transport 'at the Core of Most Phuket Problems'

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Phuketwan Special Report

TRANSPORT is Phuket's biggest problem and the one that needs to be solved first, the Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of the Interior, Prania Suwanrath, told a meeting today at Phuket City's Provincial Hall.

He listened carefully as Phuket business leaders and resort owners talked frankly about Phuket's problems.

His investigation is continuing, and he has promised the Prime Minister that he will ''fix Phuket.''

Phuket's media has been asked not to identify the Phuket people who spoke at today's long session.

Phuket's Khun C ''I have a question and I would like to know who can answer, because if someone can answer, Phuket will be a wonderful place. If I am a tourist and I arrive at Phuket airport, how can I get to my resort by public transport? When I leave my hotel, how can I get around by public transport? I don't want an expensive tuk-tuk or a black taxi. How?

''Phuket really needs a public transport network.''

Phuket's Khun D responded: ''In the past, many years ago, there was an attempt to run a public bus from the airport to Patong. The bus ran for three days. After that, the bus was pulled over and a group of men burned it. The public bus was never successful.

''Now there are four groups with problems: first, at the airport with limousine taxis, black taxis. The second one is Patong, with tuk-tuks and their very high fares. The third is Kata-Karon.

''Owners of hotels cannot use their own hotel cars, they must use the Kata-Karon taxis or tuk-tuks.

''The fourth and last is at Phuket's deep sea port. They block the road if someone objects to the fares they charge.

''Airport buses to Phuket City should be able to pick up people close to the airport exit doors. On Phuket, the buses are forced to park far away.''

Phuket's Khun C ''The charge of 200 baht for overnight parking means that someone who goes away from five days loses the cost of a good room for parking at the airport.''

Khun Pranai ''Send me a letter and I will pass it to the Prime Minster who will tell the airport what they should be doing.''

Phuket's Khun E ''Tuk-tuks on Phuket, they have them in Karon, they have them in Patong, they have them in Phuket City. But they are disappearing in Phuket City because everyone is moving to Patong.

''If you go there, you can check out all the tuk-tuks, in beach road, in Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi Road, parked everywhere, even if there are red and white no parking stripes. They can park anywhere, any time. That is real mafia.

''Another amazing Phuket rule is that you can go anywhere, but you cannot return back. They will take you from Patong to Cape Promthep, and then you have no choice about how to get back to your hotel. You have to use the same tuk-tuk.

''If you go for transport outside Central, you'll only find black taxis. And the price is so high.

''Last month in Karon, a tourist was raped by a black taxi driver. Don't think that was the only one.

''These things should not happen. If we have standard transport, just think what Thai people need to get around the island. Then the tourists can share with the Thai people.

''The taxis in Kata-Karon have a sticker, a sticker from the police. I would like to know what this means.

''We want a long-term solution. Phuket is a world-class international destination. Phuket must have a system, not have a system where everyone says 'It's up to me, it's up to me.' We must have international standards, otherwise local rules will prevail.

''It's no good having local rules. We do not have only local people who stay on Phuket. People come from all over the world to holiday here. So the rules must be to international standards, for everyone, not just for a few locals.

''Everyone cashes in on Phuket. When people come to research public transport, they always think light rail construction, they don't think what Phuket really needs. They never come to ask us.

''Buri Ram [a poorer province] has no tourists, but it has all the transport infrastructure. Why is this? Why is Phuket treated so poorly?

''In the mornings on Phuket, there are 300,000 motorcycles, and 300,000 cars, not counting the ones registered in other provinces. Every parent has to take their children to school individually.

''If I have five kids at five schools, can you imagine what that's like? There aren't enough streets for Phuket's vehicles.''
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Comments

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What these people are saying is so true.

The tuk-tuks in Patong, the commuter vans at the airport, no buses around the west coast resorts, no taxi-meters regularly on the roads - these are what needs to be fixed.

When schools close for the day, the streets are choked with parents in cars or on bikes picking up their kids. Where is the cheap public transport?

The money and power in the hands of a few influential people is destroying Phuket and has been for years. A proportion of the local police and administration are also involved, or too scared to stand up to these people.

I wish K. Pranai every success and I hope the PM's promise to 'fix' Phuket is not just electioneering.

Posted by Mike Boyd on May 20, 2011 02:27

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In regards to tour guides, I sincerely feel that as Phuket has now many Russian tourists with their own reps...its about time for Thai Students, people to learn Russian themselves and get a good job. Lets face the situation as it really is. Thank you

Posted by Anonymous on May 20, 2011 09:42

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@Anonymous-

what has that got to do with this article??

Posted by another steve on May 20, 2011 15:54

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Some very good points. Concerning the bus from the airport, I'd like to add that I recently discovered if you want to transfer to the local buses from the inter-provincial bus station in Town (which is the terminus for the airport bus) then you must take a tuk tuk across town. But when I tried this, I could not get one to agree to take me and my gf. Several drivers told me that they would only take us all the way to Kata for 500B. We were basically stranded with all our luggage. (I don't care about the price so much, I won't use tuk tuks on principle.) I am not sure if the pink bus connects the two stations, but if it does, there is no signage and this was not offered to us when I asked uniformed official looking staff at the bus station information desk. They told us tuk tuk was the only way.

Let's also not forget about the short lived Patong-Kata/Karon bus route where during the first week a driver was pulled from his bus and beaten by "competitors". (Tuk tuks are the only "competitors")

My Thai neighbor is in property sales and she has on numerous occasions been stopped and questioned by the Karon/Kata and Patong tuk tuk/taxi drivers entering or leaving hotels/resorts in her car with customers. She said they have been extremely rude and even threatening with her. On one occasion telling her co-workers they had better "Shut that whore up."

These accounts go on and on.

Posted by Joe B on May 24, 2011 12:48


Friday May 24, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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