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Phuket Opinion: Safety doesn’t celebrate

PHUKET: When foreign media and governments began to question safety in Phuket following the explosions on August 12, officials and local businesses went into crisis-management mode, yielding a number of public reassurances to restore confidence in the island’s lifeblood.

transport, accidents, tourism, Chinese, police, death,

The Phuket News

Sunday 21 August 2016, 08:00AM

The Chinese bus that careened out of control on Friday, Aug 12, the same day as the bomb attacks throughout Southern Thailand, also almost caught fire. Photo: Yingyot Chetwichain, DDPM - Kathu
The Chinese bus that careened out of control on Friday, Aug 12, the same day as the bomb attacks throughout Southern Thailand, also almost caught fire. Photo: Yingyot Chetwichain, DDPM - Kathu

Meanwhile, “real” threats to safety in Phuket remain rampant and unchecked. Officials are not taking notice or action, as highlighted by yet another bus of Chinese tourists crashing on Patong Hill on that same Friday (Aug 12), followed by yet another needless head-on collision between two private cars near Phuket Airport the next day (Aug 13).

Despite the obvious causes, most crashes are usually blamed on the weather, if not brake failure. The logical solution, then, should be to reduce faulty vehicles and bad drivers on the roads.

Yet, Phuket officials enthusiastically backed the recent procurement of 300 new tour buses from China, so as to meet the growing demand for Chinese group tour transport.

Judging from our comments section, it’s clear that most readers don’t share the enthusiasm of Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada who, fully suited and smiling for the cameras, presided over a lavish celebration on July 23.

Imagine the positive reception the governor would have received had it instead been announced that new buses were procured for the purpose of setting up a direly-needed public transport network for the benefit of all Phuket residents and tourists.

It will certainly be years before the proposed light rail system is up and running, that is if it even gets approval after exhausting the millions allocated to studies on top of studies. In the meantime, people will have to continue to find their own means of getting around. Lacking any safe, affordable alternatives, many commuters will continue to end up in hospital, or worse.

If brand-new buses are good enough to enable hordes of prudent and frugal Chinese group-tourists to get around Phuket – at a high expense to local infrastructure and environment – then surely the governor should push for a similar deal that takes into account the rest of Phuket.

Affordable, dependable and standardised public transport would invariably reduce road casualty rates, likewise.

Wishful thinking, we know, but just for the record, Mr Governor, most of Phuket is not celebrating.



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