Phuket’s New Year revelers start the long journey home

PHUKET: Phuket Land Transport Office Chief Terayout Prasertphol has ordered more buses be provided to ensure that all tourists who came to Phuket to celebrate the new year will get home in time to start 2012 without delay.

“I have ordered the [state bus operator] BorKorSor to boost bus services by 20 per cent to ensure that no passengers are left behind. I know it is important for people to reach to their desired destination by certain dates,” said Mr Terayout.

He also ordered his officers to conduct safety inspections on buses in order to help prevent any serious accidents from happening in Phuket during the long new year break.

“For private charter buses on tour here, I set an inspection team at the Tah Chat Chai checkpoint [at the bridges to the mainland]. We are focusing on vehicle registration and conducting basic safety inspections,” he explained.

Chief Terayout also repeated his stance on holding bus operators responsible for bus safety.

“If an accident happens, the company that owns the vehicle will be the person held responsible for it,” he said.

An officer at the Phuket Bus Station on Phang Nga Road in Phuket Town, told the Phuket Gazette, “We are adding bus services every day, but we are doing it on a day-by-day basis.

“Yesterday, we added 13 more bus services. So far today we have added eight extra buses out of Phuket. All of the extra bus services we are adding are buses heading to Bangkok and stopping along the way,” he explained.

The officer explained that the number of tourists heading home in the post-new year exodus this year was far greater than last year.

“We have a lot more passengers this year. We had about 800 passengers per day during the new year holiday last year, but we have about 1,200 passengers per day this year,” he said.

“But with the addition of the buses, we are sure that everyone will be home on time,” he said.

The officer explained that all bus drivers were required to pass a breathalyser test before getting behind the wheel.

“Normally this is done at the Tah Chat Chai checkpoint and at other checkpoints on major highways throughout Thailand, but for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, we had them especially undergo breath tests at the bus station here in Phuket Town.

“Not one driver was found to have been drinking before arriving at work to start driving,” he added.

Tourists Emily Billington and Emily Gilbert, both 21, told the Gazette they had enjoyed their festive season on the island.

“We had a really good time. We have been here for two weeks for the Christmas holidays. We have to fly back home from Bangkok.

“Since Thailand has a lot to see, we decided to take a bus down to Phuket to explore the whole area. We are not disappointed at all,” said Miss Billington.

“I am so happy to learn that all bus drivers get tested for alcohol before they start driving. We feel much safer about our trip,” she added.

— W Temram / C Plerin

Phuket News

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