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Unemployed Phuket tour bus staffers plead for help

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Local tour operator staff made redundant by companies using their own buses, drivers and guides to provide tours of Phuket appealed yesterday to the Governor’s Office for help in alleviating their plight.

Kanlaya Rakvaree, the lead representative of the group, explained that many local jobs had been lost to companies that no longer hire Phuket tour companies to conduct tours of the island.

“Our jobs have been stolen by companies from outside Phuket,” Ms Kanlaya said.

“In the past, companies in other provinces hired local buses and staff to provide tours to their customers.

“But now, almost all companies providing tours in Phuket are not based on the island. They have their own buses, which are not registered in Phuket, and their own drivers, who are not from Phuket.”

Ms Kanlaya, who was made redundant three months ago, expressed her concern specifically about tour bus drivers from off-island.

“These drivers have no experience in Phuket, They are not familiar with the hills and the roads, and may cause accidents,” she explained.

Nopparut Pittayanitchakun, General Manager of JE Siam Holiday Phuket, told a meeting held in January to address tour bus safety on Patong Hill that the issue was “all about drivers who do not have experience driving over the hills to Patong [story here].”

That meeting followed a horrific crash on December 29, when a tour bus slam,ed into five vehicles, killing two people and leaving 26 others injured (story here).

Ms Kanlaya noted that many Phuket businesses – mainly souvenir shops – were also moving to streamline their services by hiring their own full-time drivers and staff to provide tours to customers.

“Right now, we are in trouble – and especially at this time of year, during the tourism low season. We can’t even earn a living,” Ms Kanlaya said.

Vice Governor Sommai Prijasilpa accepted the written request for help from Ms Kanalaya, but noted that at this stage there was little the Governor’s Office could do to provide assistance.

“We understand your situation, but we need more information if we are to help,” Vice Governor Sommai said.

“If you believe that any of the people or companies you are talking about have broken any laws, we need to know who you are accusing and specifically which laws you believe they have broken.”

However, Vice Governor Sommai did offer a ray of hope.

“We will raise this issue at a meeting on Wednesday. Please join us so we can discuss with the relevant officials what can be done,” she said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

 

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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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