Free electric buses spark hope in Phuket’s traffic chaos

Photo courtey of Pattaya Mail

In the heart of Phuket’s Old Town, where tourists flock to soak in the community’s charm, a groundbreaking project has taken flight to combat congestion and pollution. Led by local businesses, the Phuket Smart Bus EV initiative promises a greener, smoother journey for all.

To tackle the notorious traffic gridlock plaguing Phuket’s picturesque Old Town, a group of local businesses has ignited a game-changing revolution. The Phuket Smart Bus EV project, unveiled today, heralds a new era of eco-friendly transit, promising respite from the city’s automotive chaos.

Comparable to the bustling streets of Bangkok, Phuket’s roads have groaned under the weight of ever-increasing tourist numbers. The Old Town, a magnet for tens of thousands daily seeking a taste of authentic Thai life, has borne the brunt of this influx. With private vehicles clogging streets and pollution levels soaring, urgent action was imperative.

Enter the Phuket Development Foundation, joining forces with private sector stalwarts to pioneer a solution. Three state-of-the-art electric buses now ply the Old Town’s routes, offering tourists a free, guilt-free ride through its historic streets.

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Each 22-seat marvel boasts cutting-edge safety features and accessibility ramps, ensuring a smooth journey for all passengers. With around 10 designated stops and a frequency of one bus every 15 minutes, the project aims to unclog arteries choked with 6,000 to 7,000 vehicles daily, curbing carbon emissions, reported Pattaya Mail.

Yet, this initiative isn’t just about easing traffic woes; it’s a beacon of hope for Phuket’s tourism industry. With over 10 million visitors annually injecting billions into the economy, a sustainable transit solution is long overdue.

ORIGINAL STORY: Shock delay: Phuket’s electrifying free bus service hits a roadblock

The eagerly awaited launch of Phuket’s electrifying free bus service has been put on hold until May 17, as revealed by the local business consortium, Phuket City Development Co Ltd (PKCD). This unexpected detour stems from licensing procedures that have hit a few bumps in the road, causing the delay.

PKCD, in conjunction with the Sustainable Tourism Development Foundation, expressed apologies for the delay and showed appreciation for the public’s understanding and support.

The electric bus service, also known as The Dragon Line, was originally slated to begin operations on May 9. The service, offering air-conditioned rides at no cost to residents and tourists, will run daily during an initial trial period.

The bus route, which runs in a circular pattern every 30 minutes from 11am until 10pm, boasts 16 stops. This bus service was conceived as a solution to the twin problems of traffic congestion and inadequate parking facilities in Phuket Town.

The Chairman of the Sustainable Tourism Development Foundation, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, highlighted the benefits of the project at its launch last month. He emphasised that the bus service would provide tourists and locals with an additional travel option, encouraging them to opt for public transportation.

Moreover, the service will employ electric buses to diminish air pollution, thereby mitigating the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to air pollution.

Bhummikitti concluded by stressing the project’s potential to foster collaboration between government agencies, the private sector, and related sectors. This project underscores the concerted effort to promote clean energy and sustainable development in the region, reported Phuket News.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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