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Phuket Opinion: Braced for eternal congestion

opinion, transport, tourism, construction,


The Phuket News

Sunday 10 July 2016, 09:00AM


Much of the island’s increased traffic over the past few years can in part be explained as 'induced demand'.
Much of the island’s increased traffic over the past few years can in part be explained as 'induced demand'.

Much of the island’s increased traffic over the past few years can in part be explained as “induced demand”, which is a correlation between expanded roads and an increased number of cars.

The situation is only aggravated by national policies to bolster automobile purchases, while simultaneously leaving public transport out of the equation.

The urgent need for modern, dependable buses in Phuket has long been expressed on internet forums, and was even echoed as a “minority” voice at the public hearings for the respective underpass projects.

It has been the will of politicians and contractors that has continued to win over the “majority” through fallacious rhetoric, of the tune “the short-term pain will be worth the long-term gain”.

Yet the only clearly measurable “gain” Phuket can claim to date since such projects broke ground has been in the number of vehicles added to roads – more than 54,000.

According to vehicle registration data from the Land Transport Department, in December 2012 there were a total of 394,720 vehicles registered in Phuket. By February, 2016 that number rose nearly 14 per cent to 449,453 vehicles.

Over the same period, the number of new private sedans and motorbikes jumped 26% and 10% – to 102,918 and 282,229 total registrations, respectively – private taxis and tour buses surged 239% and 73%, to 5,574 and 6,304 registrations, respectively.

Yet, over the same period, the number of “fixed-route buses” in Phuket – which includes inter-provincial and intra-provincial public routes – remained relatively unchanged, embarrassingly inadequate at just over 400 registrations total.

Keep in mind, these figures don’t even account for all the vehicles in Phuket that are registered to provinces.

Such limited options – which include the antiquated pink po thong and other privately-operated songtaew – might be good for the odd, nostalgic selfie, but simply do not suffice as dependable transport for Phuket’s expanding mass.

As it is, more expensive roadworks are prioritised on the short- and mid-term agendas, absent of public buses, which means our commutes are sure to get longer as the quality of life in “paradise” declines. Patience perforce!

 

 

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Joe12 | 13 July 2016 - 17:33:36

Christy... what part of "not into playing your game of semantics." do you not understand?  Have you read the links? 

I love Pauly44 post in another article, "any extended periods of stay (in Phuket) can make any logical person certifiable unless you've already lost your marbles that is."  

Thanks for the compliment. Yes I speed read and type very quickly.

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Christy Sweet | 12 July 2016 - 13:20:07

 It's apparent, too Joe 12.

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Joe12 | 11 July 2016 - 19:45:33

Ematt...nah...I only use up 1-2 minutes. 

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Christy Sweet | 11 July 2016 - 19:18:52

Hardly semantics, Joe12? There is a real difference in an idea and a plan. I'm saying officials idea of a  light rail is lip service, and while a few feasibility studies might get some pockets lined, such a leap into public transport is not being planned. Taxi cartels, mafia or lobby- whatever you wish to call it will never allow it, and practically every Thai on Phuket has a relative in that business. 

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ematt | 11 July 2016 - 18:18:34

From reading these comments it would appear that the real problem with Phuket is too many expats with way too much time on their hands...

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Joe12 | 11 July 2016 - 16:23:21

Kurt...here you go again. Read the links. 

"We all know that history and why there is no Phuket progress in modernizing public transport." What sort of comment is that? If you read the editorial it states,  "The urgent need for modern, dependable buses in Phuket has long been expressed on internet forums, and was even echoed as a “minority” voice at the public hearings for the respective underpass projects." Those people aren't aware of what you say. The question was posed to you, was to how such a monopoly can be overcome? In other words how are monopolies overcome elsewhere in the world. It's easy enough. 

Light rail is a highly important consideration as a "dependable transport for Phuket’s expanding mass" in lessening the volume of traffic, which I posed for consideration because of the comment "Such limited options." That is what the editorial is about. However, the editorial focuses on buses "...and mid-term agendas, absent of public buses" One could also consider bicycles or dedicated lanes for motorcycles only.

So, put forward your ideas on breaking the monopoly and if you disagree with light rail as being a viable alternative in conjunction with a bus system give me some opinions and facts. "Apples and pears" doesn't make the grade. 

 

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Kurt | 11 July 2016 - 15:05:56

Yes Christy Sweet, Exactly! Some person doesn't understand the difference between plan, planned and idea...

What Timothy wrote I underline/support 100%. We all know that history and why there is no Phuket progress in modernizing public transport. ( we all read recently how many weapons were found in taxis and tuk tuks.)

But it is a different story. It has nothing to do with the light rail affair.

Apples and pears, yes?

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Joe12 | 11 July 2016 - 13:12:11

Christy... not into playing your game of semantics.
http://www.thephuketnews.com/new-phuket-bridge-to-host-light-rail-56933.php
http://www.thephuketnews.com/b2bn-light-rail-system-in-the-works-for-phuket-55823.php
http://www.thephuketnews.com/phuket-gets-nod-for-b23-5bn-light-rail-55061.php
 - knock yourself out by choosing which meaning you prefer. 

Kurt...read Timothy's reply. At least someone is one the ball addressing issues. Perhaps you can suggest ways to overcome that resistance? and those of the developers and politicians?

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Christy Sweet | 11 July 2016 - 09:26:19

JOe 12 There is a big difference between a plan, planned and an idea. Authorities have put forth an idea as lip-service to solving problems.  A plan would mean the idea will be implemented and lots of folks made money making plans.

IMO,  Fat chance of a light rail when taxi cartels rule the Phuket roost to the detriment of the public and tourist alike.

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Timothy | 11 July 2016 - 09:17:19

Joe12, the reason there is no bus service is because the taxi mafia won't allow it. Were you sleeping for the past 20 years? There was a company try to run a bus service from Kata Karon to Patong. Taxi drivers ran the bus off the road and almost beat the driver to death. Since then nobody dared run the buses again. I believe there is a company now that actually has a licence to run a west coast service but will not due to threats and intimidation.  

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