Connect with us


Phuket Opinion: Stop the tour bus insanity



PHUKET: The latest crash of a tour bus descending into Patong highlights yet again the need for tour bus operators – and drivers in particular – to take personal responsibility for the safety of passengers under their care.

If it can be considered as such, the only good fortune in this latest tragedy is that no lives were lost and physical injuries were described by police as “minor” – though the people who suffered them might beg to differ (story here).

The mental stress suffered by the poor homeowner who had an out-of-control bus unexpectedly park in her living room for a second time this year must also be considered, along with other residents of the neighborhood who have to live with the constant dread that their property could be next.

The causes of this latest crash and all the others that have preceded it indicate that profit, not passenger safety, remains the primary concern of far too many tour companies.

We understand the need for tour companies to keep expenses down in such a competitive industry, but overworking underpaid drivers and skimping on the cost of regular and thorough vehicle-safety checks is not the place to start. The practice of throwing a set of keys to so-called “drivers” who have previous convictions for drunk driving and other serious infractions must also end, immediately.

Patong Hill road is intrinsically dangerous with its steep inclines and hairpin turns, but this can never be used as an excuse for even a single crash there – nor can any of the other meaningless escape responses, such as, “the brakes failed”; “the bus was old”; “the driver was unfamiliar with the road” or, perhaps our favorite, “it was raining”.

Due to continual refinement in the automotive industry, braking technology has made huge strides in recent decades. Standard factory-built vehicles now have braking systems on par with aircraft and the Formula 1 race cars of less than a decade ago.

The technology is there, but common-sense attention to safety continues lacking – even, if not especially, among so-called ‘professional’ bus, van, and taxi drivers here.

The ultimate responsibility for safety on any passenger vehicle must lie with the driver, so it falls to each and every tour company to not only employ truly professional drivers, but also to train them in emergency techniques and warn them of safety concerns along roadways they may be unfamiliar with. They must also do a better job of instilling a “captain of the ship” mentality.

For all these reasons, we fully support efforts by the Phuket Land Transportation Office to permanently revoke the licenses of tour companies with records of repeat offenses. Experience has taught us, however, not to hold our collective breath waiting for this to happen in Phuket’s notorious transport sector.


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:

Travel6 hours ago

10 Isan food you need to try at least once

Thailand7 hours ago

VIDEO: Floods tear through highway in northeast Thailand

Crime7 hours ago

13 murdered, including 7 kids by Russian neo-Nazi

Sponsored16 hours ago

International money transfers made fast, secure and transparent with DeeMoney Neo App

Thailand8 hours ago

Vegetarian Festival on Yaowarat Road starts today

Thailand8 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Baht continues surge against strong dollar

Bangkok9 hours ago

VIDEO: Fire falls like rain from communication cables in Bangkok

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand9 hours ago

Father allegedy kills daughter’s cat for stealing his meatballs

Central Thailand9 hours ago

Whale watching season begins in Phetcha Buri

Special Features9 hours ago

Top 10 studio condos in Phuket (2022)

Crime10 hours ago

Thai court overwhelmed with evidence in Forex-3D fraud case

Tourism10 hours ago

Airport expansion plans hastened across Thailand

Thailand10 hours ago

Viral video: American man joins Thai dance in Isaan rite

Politics11 hours ago

China backs Thailand to make APEC a success

Politics12 hours ago

Gen-Z students oppose an unelected senate 17 to 1

Thailand12 hours ago

Foreigner allegedly using dogs to scam Chiang Mai locals

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