PHUKET TOWN: Attempts to get Phuket Town’s first real bus service up and running – originally scheduled to start last May – are still on, and are still inching toward reality. Samkhan Saengfai, managing director of PB Holdings, which has a seven-year operating license from the Phuket Provincial Transport Office, told the Gazette that the service has been delayed because the company has not been able to find 26 buses of the right size for Phuket Town’s streets. Most buses in Thailand are 10 meters long, or longer, he explained. This makes them very hard to manoeuvre around Phuket’s narrow streets and tight bends. He said that the company had located buses for sale in South Korea that are just eight meters long. The problem is that Koreans drive on the right side of the road, so the buses must be modified to shift the steering and the passenger doors to the right-hand side. This, he pointed out, would be expensive. “Luckily, that is now our second choice; we believe we may have found the right buses in Lopburi and Suphanburi,” said Khun Samkhan. As this report went online, Khun Samkhan was on his way to inspect the Thailand-based vehicles. If the condition and price are right, he believes he should be able to put all 26 buses on the streets in January. With the buses costing an estimated 400,000 baht each, the company expects to make it into the black in about three years.
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