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Phuket Airport bus service still struggling

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The airport bus service continues to operate at a loss, mainly due to management and marketing problems, its owner has told the Phuket Gazette.

The buses, which travel from Phuket International Airport to Patong, have been carrying six to eight passengers each morning and about 12 to15 in the afternoons, company owner Prakob Panyawai said.

“We have not been effective in getting customers’ attention,” he said.

“We really need a counter inside the terminal, something similar to what the taxis have. We talked to airport management twice in September about this, but they told us we have to wait for the new terminal to be completed in 2015,” he said.

Tourists looking for the bus stop outside the terminal continue to have difficulty finding it, Mr Prakob said, despite signs that were put up in August (story here).

“Construction materials are impeding the path to the bus stop and also covering the bus stop signs, and some tourists may avoid the bus stop area because the construction makes it look dangerous,” he said.

In addition, Mr Prakob alleged that airport taxi drivers have been luring customers away by telling them their service is better than the bus.

The bus company plans to increase its marketing efforts.

“We will advertise on the radio and in newspapers and also make our website more attractive,” he said.

Last month, the Gazette asked Mr Prakob why information about the bus wasn’t available in English online (story here).

He responded that in the rush to get the bus up and going, he overlooked the website and vowed to have an English-language version available this month.

The bus has lost 400,000 baht since its first run in July, Mr Prakob calculates.

If ridership doesn’t increase in the coming high season, the company will start using smaller vehicles to save money, he said.

— Irfarn Jamdukor

 

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