Connect with us


Phuket Opinion: Bus about face



PHUKET: The quiet launch last week of a new bus to shuttle tourists from the airport to Patong (story here) comes as a small dose of good news for Phuket’s ailing public transport sector, which nevertheless continues to suffer from the chronic and very serious effects of collusion, self-entitlement and a blatant, goon-like disregard for the law, common decency and the greater good.

No other single issue has been the subject of more editorializing in this space, so we would like to formally applaud the operators of the new service, encourage all tourists to use it as much as possible, and ask for better support from the authorities in seeing that it is eventually “allowed” to extend its route all the way to Kata and Karon.

The failure of authorities to trumpet this significant launch – instead, they persuaded the operators to keep it as low-key as possible — does not bode well for the future of public transport on the island in general (story here), and especially not for Kata and Karon, where tuk-tuk and taxi operators continue to threaten “action” if their interests are infringed upon (story here).

As mentioned in this space several times in the past, the inability or unwillingness of authorities to stand up to self-serving public transport syndicates, like the well-entrenched monopoly in Kata-Karon, harms Phuket’s entire tourism industry and reinforces the island’s reputation as a “ripoff, banana republic” tourist destination.

Judging from the online comments in the English-language media, here and abroad, about the transport situation in Phuket, some readers might be led to believe that the situation is the result of some sort of greed-driven conspiracy directed against foreign tourists.

The reality is that Phuket’s reputation is also well-entrenched among residents throughout Thailand, thus costing the island untold billions of baht annually in lost revenue that could have come from domestic tourism – a too-often overlooked slice of the tourism pie.

Lack of reasonably-priced public transport of the kind that exists in every other province in the Kingdom also manifests itself in other ways, such as making Phuket the most expensive place to live and work in the country. This has resulted not only in a chronic labor shortage, but is also one of the major contributing factors to the island’s ever-worsening traffic woes.

That the transport syndicates controlling Patong have allowed the bus service to operate on their turf is an encouraging sign that even those with highly-vested interests can reason and be made willing to make some measured sacrifices for the greater good.

So far, no incidents of protest against the new service have been received from Patong or any of the other locales through which the long-awaited bus route passes. We hope that the police are making some kind of behind-the-scenes efforts to ensure that the fledgling service is allowed to establish itself and give Phuket what it needs more than anything else: safe, reasonably priced public transport.


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Politics10 hours ago

Vladimir Putin officially annexed four parts of Ukraine

Transport12 hours ago

Phuket Airport officials pulled tourist from van, insisted they use airport taxi

Thailand13 hours ago

Thailand’s strange laws – 10 strange laws in Thailand

Sponsored2 days ago

10 Best Seed Banks that Ship Cannabis Seeds Discreetly to You (Free US Shipping)

Politics14 hours ago

The long goodbye – Which way now for PM Prayut?

Pattaya14 hours ago

Pattaya Police Chief cleared of vice slurs, back on duty

Tourism15 hours ago

Reopening Thailand has a busy activity schedule

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism15 hours ago

Today is the day! Full post-pandemic Thailand reopening

Pollution17 hours ago

Garbage in canals is worsening flooding in Bangkok

Weather17 hours ago

Hurricane Ian lashes South Carolina

Tourism18 hours ago

5-star squatters evicted from Layan Beach

Video18 hours ago

All you need to know about Thailand’s Vegetarian Festival

Protests19 hours ago

Anti-Prayut rallies expected across Bangkok

What you get for $X1 day ago

What $100,000 buys you for a condo in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui and Hua Hin

Thailand1 day ago

Thailand News Today | Activists plan protests all across Thailand

Thailand2 days ago

Snitching on parking space hoggers could earn you 5,000 baht in Thailand

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11