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Officials call for strict vehicle checks after bus tyre takes out noodle stand

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: A loose tyre flying off a tour bus and bowling over a roadside noodle stand in northern Phuket on Tuesday has prompted officials to ramp up safety checks of tour buses as they come onto the island.

The bus, which was carrying both locals and tourists, was travelling from Phuket to Surat Thani on Tuesday when the tyre broke free and crashed into the noodle stand on Thepkrasattri Road in Mai Khao. No one was injured in the accident.

The bus driver, Prakob Khongpakdee, was charged with careless driving causing property damage, while the bus company, the government’s Transport Co Ltd (BorKorSor) was fined 5,000 baht for using a bus in unsafe condition.

“The bus was taken to the Phuket Land Transport Office [PLTO] in Phuket Town for a safety check after the accident, and was discharged once it was approved by officers there,” confirmed Jaturong Kaewkasi, the chief policy adviser at the PLTO.

Mr Jaturong has since announced that the PLTO aims to set up a vehicle safety-inspection center at the Tah Chat Chai checkpoint to ensure that all vehicles coming onto the island are safe to operate.

“I have suggested the idea of setting up a vehicle check at Tah Chat Chai to the Phuket governor several times. However, it has not been approved yet because many officials are worried that it would affect tourism,” he said.

“The argument is that if a bus carrying tourists fails inspection, it would damage our reputation.

“But if we do not check, accidents resulting from unsafe buses will happen more often, and it will look as though PLTO does not care.”

All vehicles are required to undergo an annual safety inspection at the Land Tranport Offices where the vehicles are registered, Mr Jaturong explains.

“Even though the vehicles may be well checked for other provinces, how can we assure that they are ready to drive in Phuket?,” he asks.

“The road conditions in Phuket are not the same as in other provinces. Phuket is very hilly and the roads are dangerous.”

Mr Jaturong insisted that this problem needed to be addressed as soon as possible.

“The PLTO takes this issue very seriously. More than just the PLTO and governor need work on this issue, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, as well as tourism business operators should all come together to discuss solutions,” he said.

“If we work together, we can reach a swift conclusion.”

— Kongleaphy Keam


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

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