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Airport limo problem gets committee treatment

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Airport limo problem gets committee treatment | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: The problem of transportation at Phuket International Airport has been dumped into the laps of at least 10 ad-hoc committees, who have been given the vaguest of briefs – to discuss solutions to the problem – and no deadline to report back with their conclusions.

The decision to set up the committees was made at a public meeting at Phuket City’s Community Center Hall on August 5. Standing by to keep the peace were some 100 police officers, special police and police volunteers.

Having their say were representatives from meter-taxi companies, tuk-tuk drivers, limousine cooperatives, “black” (unlicensed) taxi drivers, the Phuket Tourism Association, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Region 4, the Phuket Transportation Office, Phuket International Airport, members of the Phuket Provincial Council, other government officials and representatives of travel industry businesses.

Others outside watched the proceedings via closed-circuit TV.

At the hearing, Utai Suksirisompan, a consultant to the Airport Limousine and Business Service Cooperative Ltd, said that Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura should look at the cause of the problem and try to find the best solution.

Pattanapong Aikwanich, President of the Phuket Tourism Association, was rather more precise. He said although many tourists might enjoy the feeling of riding in a private car, there have been numerous complaints that limousine fares were too high.

“We have to consider whether or not the airport has enough taxis. If so, then we should not increase the number of meter taxis.

“I don’t think we should increase the number of metered taxis, but instead allow the limousine and [black] taxi drivers to switch to driving metered taxis. Customers can decide for themselves which transport service they want to use,” K. Pattanapong added.

In any case, Gov Udomsak’s original plan to have hundreds of meter taxis plying Phuket’s roads may take some time to realize. The representative of the Provincial Transportation Office told the meeting that only four people had registered meter taxi companies, providing a total of 20 vehicles between them. Another 21 meter taxis are registered to individuals, making a total of only 41 registered meter taxis on the entire island.

Suwalai Pinpradab, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Region 4, noted that the TAT had received many letters of complaint, both in Thai and in English, about transportation services in Phuket.

The current common complaint is about minibus drivers taking their passengers from the airport to a tour company on the bypass road where staff try to pressure them into buying a tour package that includes transportation direct to their hotel.

The public hearing concluded with the setting-up of committees to consider the problem. Committee members include Phuket Senator Paiboon Upatising, representatives from 10 limousine cooperatives in Phuket, officials from the Phuket International Airport, police from all three districts, provincial officials, the TAT, the Phuket Tourism Association, members of the Provincial Council, and others.

The decision to bury the problem in numerous committees follows a tense meeting on July 29 when the Governor was besieged by angry limousine drivers who blocked his car, preventing him from leaving Provincial Hall to go to lunch.

This time, in sharp contrast, some of the limousine drivers tried to hand Gov Udomsak bouquets of flowers. “What are these for?” he asked, before declining to accept them.

 

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Phuket

Phuket sets quarantine requirement for those entering the province, some exempt

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via PR Phuket

A 14-day period in quarantine is required for those entering Phuket who are either not vaccinated against the coronavirus or have not been tested for Covid-19 within 72 hours of arrival.

Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong made the announcement yesterday, adding they will no longer require Covid-19 tests on arrival. Phuket News notes that the required tests were problematic, particularly for truck drivers who were delivering essential items to the island on a regular basis.

“If you stay in Phuket shorter than 14 days, then you will be in quarantine as long as you stay on the island… From today on, no rapid tests anymore. Arrivals without any documents must get the quarantine order at the checkpoint.”

Piyapong says staff from the Phuket Public Health Office will hand out quarantine orders to those entering the province. The a copy of the order will be sent to the Emergency Operation Centre, which will follow up with those who are in quarantine at their homes or hotels.

The main Phuket checkpoint will only be open from 8:30am to 8:30pm. Only delivery vehicles can enter outside of those hours.

Those only entering Phuket for a short day trip are exempt from the quarantine rule, according to the Phuket News.

SOURCE: Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Fishermen find space debris off the coast of Phuket

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Phuket Andaman News

Local fishermen found space debris, possibly from a satellite or space shuttle, on the seabed just 6 metres below the surface by Koh Ael in Phuket. At first, no one knew exactly what it was.

Specialists from a Navy explosive ordinance disposal unit were first called to look at the round, hollow metal object which was about 45 centimetres in diameter. 3rd Naval Area commander Vice Admiral Choengchai Chomchoengpaet told reporters at a press conference that the team took photos of the object and found it appeared to be a rocket fuel tank, possibly used to launch a satellite or shuttle into space. He said it matched photos online.

Both the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, or GISTDA, and the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, agree that the object was most likely a fuel tank for a rocket.

Since the fuel tanks usually contain harmful chemicals like ammonia or hydrogen, divers examined the space debris to make sure there were no chemical leaks before bringing the object to shore and taken to the navy headquarters. The space debris will be taken to the GISTDA to be studied.

“If other objects similar to this one are found elsewhere, people should not touch them. They could contain hazardous chemicals. They should immediately inform Region 3 Thai-MECC or local officials.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Phuket

Phuket police search for foreigners who were seen drinking beer at a restaurant

Tanutam Thawan

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Stock photo by Tembela Bohle for Pexels

Phuket officials are serious about disease control orders banning parties and gatherings with friends, especially when alcohol is involved. They’re so serious, that apparently they’re searching for 4 foreigners who were seen drinking beers at a restuarant in Rawai.

Police raided the restaurant yesterday at a complaint from a woman who works for the local district office. She was out on a campaign pushing for locals to wear face masks when she noticed that some people were sitting at the Roxanne restuarant, having a beer. Photos as well as a video was sent to the police showing a group of 4 foreign men and 2 Thai women sitting at the restaurant together.

Along with police officers, local officials from the Muang District Office and Rawai Municipality showed up to the restuarant. Reports say the men were seen driving off on motorcycles just as as the team of 10 officers and public officials arrived. The beer was still on the table when police arrived.

Officers took the owner of the restaurant and 4 of the employees to the Chalong Police Station. The owner is facing charges of breach of the provincial order banning the sale of alcohol and allowing the consumption of alcohol on the premises.

Just last week, police raided a home in Cherngtalay, breaking up a gathering of 6 people. 2 men from the UK who work in Phuket were taken to the police station and fined 6,000 baht whilst police were still waiting for another 4 people to present themselves at the police station.

As part of the disease control measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, preparing Phuket for a possible Covid and quarantine-free reopening in July, officials have banned social activities and gatherings, with the expection of traditional events like funerals. Phuket authorities have warned that foreign residents who break the rules could be subject to being deported.

SOURCE: Phuket News

Phuket police search for foreigners who were seen drinking beer at a restaurant | News by Thaiger

 

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