PHUKET: The Patong Hill road is under repair for 22m baht, as Phuketwan reported on May 28. But the vehicles that are being asked to climb the hill will continue to be a problem.
Reporters recently encountered a busload of Chinese tourists who had been due to cross the hill. But their bus pulled up short, almost at the point where repairs are well underway.
The tourists had to wait for a second bus. Meanwhile, a policeman berated the driver for driving a contraption that couldn't make it over the hill.
''This happens at least twice a day,'' the policeman told Phuketwan. ''I really don't understand why some of these vehicles are allowed on the road.
''In the case of this particular bus, the slope has interrupted the flow of fuel from the tank to the engine. Now, that's not much of a bus.''
Nearby, work was continuing to shore up a section of the road that has frequently collapsed over the years.
Repairs are complicated and more costly because there is housing quite close to the bottom of the slope, so an expensive retaining wall has to be constructed.
The repairs are expected to be completed in time for November and Phuket's next high tourist season.
A quick calculation tells us that about 240 buses will have stalled on the hill by then.
One or two are likely to also take the speedy route down the hill going the other way and collect the houses at the bottom.
Phuketwan noticed that the house where crashing buses usually finish up in the loungeroom is now up for sale.
Patong Council really should step up, but the property, demolish it and replace it with a giant mattress.
We'd like to see more action on road safety but information about the number of fatalities and injuries on Phuket has become a provincial secret.
For many years until April 2012, Phuket Public Health department provided regular monthly updates. Since April last year - when the toll appeared to be going down - no new data has been released.
We will just have to keep asking the policeman on Patong Hill.