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Ferry between Pattaya and Hua Hin permanently cancelled

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Hua Hin to Pattaya ferry service is permanently closed.

With travel restrictions for dark red zones limiting flights and bus services, ferries are not immune from the economic damages of Covid-19 either. The ferry service running between Hua Hin and Pattaya hasn’t been operating since last year due to Covid-19, but it now appears it will not ever restart.

Royal Passenger Liner Co was operating as the sole operator of the route, and the only ferry service utilising the Bali Hai Pier where it occupied Pattaya Port C. Yesterday the mayor of Pattaya City announced that the ferry company, who had suspended their service citing the lack of foreign and domestic tourists travelling due to the Covid-19 pandemic, had requested a cancellation of their contract with the port.

The trip sped up travel time between the two popular tourist destinations, taking just one hour and 40 minutes to travel across the Gulf of Thailand between the destinations. Royal Passenger Liner operated a smaller catamaran that could seat 150 travellers and a larger ferry that could accommodate 262 patrons.

The troubled route launched in 2017 but struggled the entirety of its 4-year run. The ferry ridership was less than expected and the route between Pattaya and Hua Hin proved to just not be that popular. The ferry had various other troubles and setbacks along the way, but when Covid-19 started shutting down services and regions, it was the beginning of the end for the ferry route.

The Chon Buri Covid-19 Communicable Disease Committee set orders in place that first suspended the ferry service last year. But now the pandemic rages on and service remains inoperable, and there’s no estimating when things may return to near normalcy with tourism returning and ferry passengers lining up to travel between Hua Hin and Pattaya, and Royal Passenger Liner is pulling the plug.

Pattaya’s mayor said that they have no plan for any replacement company coming to replace the cancelled ferry to Hua Hin, and said that Royal Passenger Liner made renovations to the pier that aren’t up to government standards and the company will have to restore it to the original condition before the contract can be cancelled.

A new ferry had a test run last year from Sattahip near Pattaya to Prachuap Khiri Khan near Hua Hin, but it’s not a permanent schedule to replace the cancelled ferry route. Plans had also been discussed regarding building a bridge to connect the two cities as well.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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