PHUKET TOWN: The Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) has admitted defeat in its attempts to get tour boat operators to use its smart new Rassada Quay on Sri Sena Rd. Instead of trying to run the 65-million-baht quay itself, the OrBorJor now plans to call for bids from companies interested in running the pier on a concession basis. “We just don’t have the budget or the people to run the port,” Khun Wisut Santikun, deputy president of the OrBorTor, told the Gazette. The Rassada Quay was opened in November last year and attracted four tour boat operators. But when, in February, it started collecting port fees of five baht per outbound passenger, three of the operators pulled out and went back to using the fishing port opposite. The fishing port is filthy and reeks of rotting fish, and tourists often have to clamber precariously over other boats to get to their transport. But the operators say they prefer to use it because they can pay a fixed fee per month, no matter how many passengers they carry. “They all say that our rate is too high,” said K. Wisut. “Personally, I don’t agree. The facilities here are new. It is comfortable and it looks nice – we put 65 million baht into it.” He admitted, however, that the quay does have a couple of drawbacks. When the tide is particularly low, for example, there is not enough water for boats to come alongside. In addition, the quay is designed solely for loading and unloading of passengers; there are no refueling facilities. At an OrBorJor meeting next week, members will discuss possible structures for the concession – whether, for example, it should be a full concession or purely a management concession, or whether there should be different concessions for different operations at the quay. So far, says K. Wisut, three companies have expressed interest in taking a concession — one from Bangkok, one from Phi Phi and one from Phuket.
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