PHUKET: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Chinese tour businesses and local bus companies is underway in order to decrease the number of outsourced buses used on Phuket, confirmed Santi Pawai, the Phuket office director for the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
Local bus companies pushed for the MoU due to the alleged negative impact the outsourced buses have had on their businesses.
“The Chinese tour businesses previously used our buses,” said Pornsri Piyachocksakul, a bus business owner. “The Andaman Tourism Association, which is representing the local bus group, is dealing with the Chinese tour businesses and local authorities to reach an agreement.”
Mr Santi confirmed that several requirements have been put forth and need to be agreed upon before an MoU can be drafted.
“In my talks with the Chinese tour companies, three main demands have been put on the table in order for local tour bus groups to gain their business,” said Mr Santi.
“One, the bus must be in good shape and well maintained; two, the driver must be trained, speak politely, have good manners, wear a uniform and pass a drug test; and three, the bus must have insurance to guarantee the passengers’ safety.”
While discussions are still underway, the Andaman Tourism Association is compiling a list of bus companies that would like to join the association.
“After bus companies have been enlisted in the association, it will be more convenient to organize and improve the quality of service,” Mr Santi said.
“Additionally, once bus companies have joined, all replacement buses, in the event that one breaks down, will be supplied by other buses in the association, so there will be no need for outsourcing.”
— Nattha Thepbamrung
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