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Tour bus operators in Phuket call for government help after a year of no work



PHOTO: JOEcard31 on Flickr

Tour bus operators on the southern island of Phuket are calling for government assistance as they face ongoing legal action over missed lease payments on their equipment. Some operators say the threat of bankruptcy looms over them after a year of unemployment. The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc with tourism on Phuket, but tour bus operators say they have never been consulted during talks between the government and those working in the sector.

According to a Thai PBS World report, the Phuket Bus Operators 30 Association, representatives of the Phuket Double Deck Tour Bus Operators Club, and others involved in tour bus operations, met with Raywat Aree-rob from the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation to discuss how best to deal with the impact of Covid-19, in particular threats of legal action from non-bank credit agencies.

Tour bus operators are calling for help in negotiating with agencies over repayment instalments, so that they can avoid bankruptcy. They also want to be included in future tourism talks with the government, which they claim have only involved the hospitality sector, while excluding businesses such as tour bus and boat operators. They also say they haven’t been involved in any talks on the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in the province.

Raywat has acknowledged their concerns and pledged to involve tour bus operators in all future meetings. The head of the PPAO says he has also written to the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Thailand in relation to the operators’ financial issues. In relation to Covid-19 vaccines, he says there is no cause for concern as officials expect to have vaccinated more than 70% of the population in time for the island’s reopening.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World


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  1. Joe

    Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Many buses have been parked in the full sun and rain for over a year and are now covered with rust, they don’t look like they are fit for usage any more. The government had better do some major mechanical checks before these wrecks are allowed back on the roads otherwise we are going to have a similar accident to that boat tragedy happening but then in a bus.

  2. harry1

    Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    l would say at least 70% of local business have closed in the last year,they had little or no help

  3. Bill

    Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    As long as isaan john doesn’t have to deal with the common cold screw the tour bus operators, they can eat dirt.

  4. dispensed

    Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    I feel sorry for those motorbike taxi guys who used to hang out around 7/11. When I was in Thailand just before the pandemic, they were begging tourists to hop on their bike for 50 baht. Now they can’t even make 50 baht. That’s harsh.

  5. Zico

    Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    Exactly, these 30 or more year old buses needs proper mechanical check ups before send on track! After 200kg putty and paint for cosmetic.

  6. toby andrews

    Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Well dispensed, B50 is what they charge ferangs, Thais pay B30.
    Over the last six years in Thailand I doubt I have take more than 10 motorbike taxis.
    They drop me short, they argue about the fare agreed, it is never ending . . .
    The fare displayed at the motorcycle stations, are taken down. or the prices are in Thai script.
    It is not harsh, dispensed, it is JUSTICE.

  7. James R

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 3:55 am

    Times are hard it seems in Thailand.

    Even when I was in Phuket up to August last year people were leaving.

    The Thai family living in the house opposite had to go back to Bangkok as no business.

    A farang man and his Thai wife had a motorbike renting business down the street and they closed up.

    A family family down the street who had a mini bus business went bust and they moved away.

    Here in the UK people are being paid 80% of their salaries if they can not work, many people are loving the lock down and getting paid to work from home, but there is hardly any help for people in Thailand.

  8. toby andrews

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 10:43 am

    Tragic, but the tour bus drivers have to adapt in these hard times.
    If they take the seats out, they could grow tomatoes in the tour buses.
    They know it makes sense.

  9. Issan John

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 11:09 am

    “Here in the UK people are being paid 80% of their salaries if they can not work, many people are loving the lock down and getting paid to work from home, but there is hardly any help for people in Thailand.”

    Different countries, different problems and solutions, James R.

    Thailand’s external debt is 3.8 trillion baht – 33.5% of GDP.

    The UK’s external debt is over 85 trillion baht – 85% of GDP.

    Phuket, of course, has more problems than anywhere else in Thailand as it’s economy is so reliant on foreign tourists, but less than 1% of Thais live in Phuket.

  10. James R

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 11:21 pm


    Let’s make that 0.5% now re Phuket.

    The situation is the same in Chiang Mai, Krabi, Hua His and many other places.

    Plus no money being sent back home to many other cities in Thailand from those places at the moment.

    Tourism is 20% of Thailands income after all.

    Still there is a silver lining for some people, due to the fact many people will continue to work from home in the UK people are moving out of London and want bigger properties to buy so house prices have gone up here by 10% during the last six months, it has turned out to be a nice little earner as I just sold a house.

    Someone always wins in such situations.

    Bad news is prices have gone down in Thailand and I have a couple of houses to sell there, I will just have to wait and see.

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