Airport bus service off to a slow start

PHUKET: Despite getting off to a slow start on its October 1 launch, the new Airport Bus service is slowly gaining in popularity as the public becomes aware of the new low-cost transport option, say its operators.

Wiched Radomkij, Manager of Phuket Mahanakorn Co (PMC), which runs the service, said part of the problem stemmed from the fact that the company contracted to customize PMC’s fleet of five buses was able to deliver only two of the vehicles by the launch date.

The company is now operating three buses and expects to have all five in operation by next month, he said.

On the first day, the two air-conditioned buses took in combined fares totaling less than 1,000 baht.

Income has been rising gradually, however, and K. Wiched is confident that the service will eventually become popular.

“It will take some time to familiarize our target group with the service, and we need to do more publicity. We still run the buses even if we don’t have any passengers, because we want the public to see our buses in operation every day,” he said.

Despite rising fuel prices, the company has no plans to raise its distance-based fares, which range from 8 baht to 52 baht.

He added that the service was becoming popular among businesspeople who don’t want to leave their cars parked at the airport when traveling to Bangkok for a few days.

Few airport employees use the service as most either live near the airport or have their own vehicles, he said, though he noted that the number of passengers increases on rainy days.

The buses will continue to start at 5:30 am daily from Phuket City and at 6:30 am from the airport. The last bus still leaves the airport at 8:30 pm and Phuket City at 9:30 pm, he added.

In Phuket City, the gray-and-orange buses set out from the main Phuket City Bus Terminal on Phang Nga Rd, leaving the city via Mae Luan Rd, and stopping to pick up passengers at Big C; Tesco-Lotus; outside the Shell gas station near the Heroines’ Monument on Thepkrasattri Rd; near Wat Phranangsang in Thalang; and at the Nai Yang turnoff from Route 4031, before arriving at the airport.

The full trip from end to end takes about one hour.

Phuket News

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