Phuket Opinion: ‘Terminal’ traffic ills can still be solved

PHUKET: Residents of Rassada Village 2 have good reason to complain about the lack of a public hearing before the construction of Phuket Bus Terminal 2 in their community.

But now that the station has sat idle for seven months, it’s time for all stakeholders to sit down together and work out a solution acceptable to all sides.

As long-term readers of the Phuket Gazette will know, plans to build a new bus terminal outside the city center date back decades.

The need for a new station has been obvious for years. The narrow streets and increasing traffic congestion in Phuket Town made it a bad place for lumbering air-conditioned coaches spewing out diesel exhaust on their way to the old terminal off Phang Nga Rd.

Much like the plans to build an international convention center somewhere on the island, the issue of where to site the new terminal was a sticking point for years. Numerous possible sites were put forward – then rejected, even as land prices continued to skyrocket.

As written in this space years ago, a better location for the station would have been closer to Bang Khu Junction, where the bypass road intersects with Thepkrasattri Rd. This would have spared taxis, cars and buses the need to head north to reach the bypass road on their way to destinations to the south and west.

But given the years of delay, the Phuket Land Transport Office under its chief Kanok Siripanichkorn is to be commended for finally getting the Transport Ministry to fund the project – even if the location on the traffic-saturated Thepkrasattri Rd southbound is less than ideal in several respects.

And some of the problems with the location are just now coming into sharper focus. See page 6, current issue of the Phuket Gazette. (Digital subscribers, click here to download.)

In the latest development, local leaders have submitted a letter of complaint to Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop. Apart from the impending traffic nightmare that will result from buses doing U-turns on Thepkrasattri Rd, local residents have also complained that they were never given a chance to voice their concerns at a public hearing.

If it’s true that the neighbors in the area of the new terminal were never offered a chance to voice their views on the siting of the station, then it is an exceptional oversight. Bus stations around the world are loud, dirty and well known for attracting more than their fair share of touts, vagrants, drifters and criminals.

But looking at a positive side that few seem to have considered, the bus station will inevitably bring more business to an area that until recently had only the Supercheap shopping complex as a significant commercial drawing card.

All that said, the terminal is built, much-needed, and, inevitably, will open soon. There are several ways to deal with the traffic problems, but it must be done quickly and in a way acceptable to the local residents whose concerns have been ignored for far too long.

Opinion

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

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