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Transport Company resumes service, bans foreigners

Jack Burton

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Transport Company resumes service, bans foreigners | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Love and Road
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The wheels on the bus go round and round. But not for foreigners living in Thailand.

The Transport Company, the state operator of intercity bus services, announced today that foreigners are banned from its services due to the Emergency Decree. Although services have resumed on most of their routes across the country, foreign travellers are not allowed to board because they do not have Thai national ID cards. Well that’s the official excuse according to a service agent. Asked whether passports can be used instead, the agent said “no”.

“They don’t hold Thai ID cards, so they can’t board our buses. We need them for identification purposes.”

“It’s the company policy, sorry for any inconvenience.”

The company also announced on its website that it reserves the right to book tickets for Thai nationals only, citing an unspecified clause of the Emergency Decree.

Other interprovincial bus providers have no such rule. Private operators Nakhonchai Air and Sombat Tour say foreigners are welcome on board, but are encouraged to check local quarantine requirements since some provinces still enforce 14 day quarantine for foreigners.

But Thaiger has had four messages in the past week saying they were unable to buy tickets or board Sombat Tour buses. This message from a New Zealand expat who tried to board a Sombat Tour bus.

“I wanted to go and visit my friend in Bangkok and she went ahead and booked a ticket on สมบัติทัวร์ มิตรแท้เพื่อนเดินทาง (Sombat Tour Bus Company) from Chiangmai to Bangkok.

The next morning I got a call from the company saying foreigners are not allowed on the bus. I am deeply offended by this discrimination. I have been in Thailand well before Covid arrived. Does this mean I can’t travel on planes also?”

The State Railway of Thailand says foreigners are also allowed to board long distance trains.

Domestic travel restrictions, in place since April, were mostly lifted after the government shortened the curfew by an hour on May 29 due to lower numbers of Covid-19 cases reported nationwide. (No new cases were reported today, according to the assistant spokeswoman for the government’s Covid-19 crisis centre.)

The country’s cumulative cases of infection now stand at 3,125. 80 patients are being treated in hospital, while 2,987 have recovered, putting the recovery rate well over 95%. There have been 58 deaths.

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    sam thompson

    June 11, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    Well that seems entirely reasonable and not at all discriminatory or xenophobic.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    June 11, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Good, the railway is cheaper, and often quicker because they are not slow going through cities as the buses are.
    One more reason for foreigners not to return to Thailand.

    • Avatar

      John cameron

      June 11, 2020 at 5:25 pm

      I have thai ID card .can i tavel on coaches .

    • Avatar

      Jim shelley

      June 11, 2020 at 10:14 pm

      Imagine if we tried to do this to Thai nationals in the UK, , it would be illegal. I live in Bangkok but if this is how they want to be maybe it’s time to move on. Let’s see how Thailand copes without tourists and foreign nationald who live here & spend money here.

  3. Avatar

    Kelvin Bamfield

    June 11, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    white lives matter WLM

  4. Avatar

    Jesters_cry

    June 11, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    How are all the fake unqualified foreign ‘teachers’ going to get to work ? Maybe segregation might be the way to do it. Keep the whites at the back of the bus.(That is sarcasm. I am not a Thai national.)
    Using foreigners as part of a corrupt scheme to defraud students of qualified foreign teachers is fine,but allowing them to sit next to Thais on a bus is an issue. Keep those foreigners in their place. In schools without valid work permits as visa slaves. (That part may sound like sarcasm,but it isn’t.)

  5. Avatar

    tourist

    June 11, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    What a lovely way to let farangs know that they are not welcomed and should stay home. The once famous Thai hospitality is obviously a thing of the past.

  6. Avatar

    Robert Cole

    June 11, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Are you fuc^%$ kidding me? Ha ha! That’s a new low. So those on retirement or work or spousal visas, who haven’t been out of the country for at least 3 months, can’t get on a frigging bus? After so many years, one would think that they couldn’t be surprised by the total lack of logic that is (often?) displayed in this amazing country. But then again, just by writing the previous sentence, it shows that I haven’t been here long enough, or just haven’t quite “got it” yet. And nope, we most likely never quite will ; )

  7. Avatar

    Anutin

    June 12, 2020 at 7:34 am

    Incredibly rasicst even for this government. Contact your embassy and ask them if they endorse state sponsored segregation.

  8. Avatar

    JKU

    June 12, 2020 at 7:55 am

    Add temles refusing entry to foreigners. Why would anyone visit Thailand?

  9. Avatar

    james

    June 14, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    I am not surprised as falangs here have always been seen as second class but as long as you buy your way of life here you are welcome.

    Oh and don’t forget to pay falang prices at Zoos, shops etc.

    It is a nice place to visit but not to live unless you don’t mind swallowing your pride.

  10. Avatar

    Jerrod

    September 10, 2020 at 11:10 am

    White falangs living in Thailand a getting just a minuscule taste of the type of discrimation that BIPOC experience in western countries. LMFAO

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

A Burmese teenager who lives near the Thai-Myanmar border tested positive for Covid-19. Now, Thai border patrol officers are tightening security even more to make sure Myanmar’s outbreak doesn’t cross the border and cause a second wave in Thailand.

The 17 year old Burmese boy tested positive for Covid-19 last week. Reports say the teen was in Myanmar’s Payatongsu district, about 5 kilometres from the Three Pagodas Pass checkpoint bordering Kanchanaburi. The teen started having symptoms on September 11 and tested positive on September 17.

Only around 13 people were reportedly in close contact with the teen and they are now in quarantine at a district school. Health officials suspect the teen was exposed to the virus from his uncle who had travelled to Moulmein, a large city near Yangon which had a spike in coronavirus cases. The uncle has been tested and is in quarantine, but his test results are still pending.

In another case, a 2 year old Burmese child tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving Thailand. A report from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health Disease Control Department says the child most likely contracted the virus while travelling from Thailand to Myanmar around September 4 to September 10. The family travelled to Mae Sot and entered Myanmar through natural passageways. 2,635 people in Mae Sot tested negative for Covid-19.

Since Myanmar reported a surge in cases, starting mostly in the country’s Rakhine state on the western coast, Thailand has been increasing border patrol to make sure people are not entering Thailand illegally and potentially spreading the virus. Now that there are cases in some Myanmar border towns, Thailand checkpoints are on high alert.

The daily number of Covid-19 cases in Myanmar continues to rise. The country reported a total of 6,471 cases with 100 deaths and 1,445 recoveries, according to Worldometer.

In some border districts, police have placed barbed wire along the border to prevent people from entering illegally. Security has increased and dozens of migrants have been arrested in the past month for allegedly entering Thailand illegally. Even volunteers have stepped up to patrol the borders. No migrants arrested for allegedly crossing the border have tested positive for the virus.

Daily new Covid-19 cases in Myanmar

Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19 | News by The Thaiger

The daily number of Covid-19 cases in Myanmar continues to rise. As of September 22, the country reported 6,471 cases with 100 deaths and 1,445 recoveries, according to Worldometer.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Maya Taylor

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Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TAT News

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’. Nation Thailand reports that the GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. Chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa says the proposal will shortly be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted. The effect is being keenly felt by all the airlines in Thailand, with the Kingdom’s borders closed to nearly all international traffic since March.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month. Patchara, who also serves as director-general of the Excise Department, says the tax may end up being abolished completely. In normal times, taxation on aviation fuel generates around 1 billion baht a year.

Air Asia has also cut some of its ground costs by using airport buses to ferry passengers from a cheaper aircraft parking area, back to the terminals, foregoing the costs of the airport airbridges. Flights from Phuket to Don Mueang, for example, are now a full ‘bus’ service, sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes at either end for the loading up of the buses and the trip to the planes or the terminal.

It’s understood the excise tax collected since October 2019 totals 503 billion baht, down more than 6.5% on last year’s figure. Most of the income comes from oil or oil products, cars, alcohol, and cigarettes.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy

Maya Taylor

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Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy | The Thaiger
Shuttered businesses along Bangla Road in Patong yesterday

The governor of Phuket has likened the southern province to a “patient in a coma”, as he pleads for help to restore its devastated economy. According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew was addressing a Public Health Association forum, where he highlighted the economic crisis caused by the ongoing ban on international tourists. The island’s international airport closed in April, shutting off the supply of international tourists, and cutting off the flow of international money flowing into the island’s tourist economy.

The latest figures show that Phuket has lost over 400 billion baht since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The island’s economy is, either directly or indirectly, 90% reliant on a steady flow of international tourists, and has seen a massive tourist infrastructure boom over the past 20 years, including accommodation, tours, tour boats, tours buses and passenger vans, international shows, new roads, restaurants and rentals – all aimed at the many levels of traveller budgets.

Governor Narong predicts the province will face similar hardship next year, and is calling on the government to organise conferences and other events that will attract more visitors to the province.

“So far, the province has invited 15,000 village health volunteers in the south to travel and spend time in the province while today’s seminar is bringing in 10,000 attendees and followers and will relieve some of the hardship.”

Meanwhile, PHA president Prapat Thamwongsa, says the forum gives those attending the opportunity to share knowledge and advice on tackling the spread of disease, with presentations and competitions addressing all public health activities.

Phuket usually receives around 14 million visitors every year, with around 10-11 million arriving from outside Thailand. The airport usually welcomes up to 300 international flights a day but is now only receiving around 80 flights a day, since the ban on foreign flights started in April. Narong says an estimated 40,000 of the island’s workers are now unemployed, while those still employed have taken hefty pay cuts of anything from 20% to a hefty 90%. Less than 30% of the province’s hotels are currently open.

“Phuket is like a patient in a coma in ICU. So, it is necessary for all stakeholders to help restore Phuket as quickly as possible.”

The Cabinet recently approved a long-stay visa (the Special Tourist Visa) for tourists who wish to visit the Kingdom, although critics say the strict requirements, coupled with the extortionate cost of the mandatory 14 day quarantine, make it unworkable. The new visa is also insisting that travellers will have to arrive on restricted charter or private jet flights, adding further cost and restrictions.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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