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Phuket beefs up bus services, driver drug tests for Songkran



PHUKET: More buses and drug and alcohol tests for drivers have been ordered at the Phuket bus terminal in Rassada to ensure that everyone can travel, and travel safely, during the Songkran holidays.

The Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO) added 20 per cent more buses to accommodate the crowds returning home for the Thai new year and make sure no one was disappointed at the ticket office.

“We have extra buses to ensure travelers are comfortable and get home on time. Everyone wants to celebrate with their family in this special season,” said PLTO safety officer Jaturong Kaewkasi, who was standing by at the bus station yesterday to make sure all went well.

I’m confident that all passengers will reach their desired destinations on time,” he added

The PLTO also has safety in mind.

“We are requiring drivers to pass an alcohol breath test and a urine drug test before they get on the bus, in order to help prevent serious accidents,” he said.

“One bus driver tested positive and confessed that he took drugs, so we will send him to drug rehabilitation.

“After he comes back, if he tests positive again we will report him to the police,” he said.

It’s not only drivers whose sobriety is being monitored, but passengers too.

“We will also refuse passengers who are drunk and not allow alcohol to be drunk on board. Drunk people will make trouble for other passengers,” he explained.

The efforts by the PLTO won praise from two Canadian tourists.

Emma Wontorra told the Phuket Gazette, “We decided at the last minute to go to Bangkok, and looked for tickets this morning. We were pretty sure that they would be hard to find. I was very surprised when there were seats available for us,” she said.

“This is my first time to take a bus in Thailand. Everything is very well organized.”

Her travel companion Leah Young said, “They are handling the situation really well. The ticket agent told me they increased the number of buses.

“We were also happy with transportation from Karon to the bus station. We came by minibus, and it was a fast trip. Everything about transportation here has made us happy,” she added.

— Saran Mitrarat


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