Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodtong ordered officials to be better armed with information in order to address the key issues at a meeting held at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday (May 22).
“I want every one to update the information they have, such as the number of public transport (drivers and vehicles) and information about the beaches in their areas, so they can come up with effective solutions to the problems they are facing,” Gov Norraphat told a bevy of high-ranking officials at the meeting.
Also present was Army Region 4 Deputy Commander Maj Gen Pornsak Poonsawat, who offered praise for progress on some key issues, but marked more work remained to be done.
“In the past three months, good progress has been made on several key issues that affect tourism. For this I have to thank every officer involved for doing a good job,” he said.
Gen Ponsak noted that progress was being made in clearing Surin Beach of any “encroachers”.
The beach is to be maintained in an appropriate manner to honour the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who graced the sands there on March 9, 1959, Gen Pornsak said.
“Nobody is allowed to ‘take benefit’ (sic) in the area. Now this is in the process of law enforcement,” he said.
Regarding other beaches in Phuket, Gen Pornsak noted, “Eight beaches have been set with 10% zones (where vendors may operate). The other beach is Bang Tao Beach, which is now undergoing the process of setting out an area for people (vendors) affected from the arrangement (now banned from serving on the sand).”
following up on his promise to tackle tuk-tuks, taxis, and car and motorbike rental operators commandeering parking spaces along the Patong beachfront (see story here), Gen Pornsak noted, “On May 24 (tomorrow), there will be a meeting about public transport parking area.”
Gen Pornsak was vague in his description of the meeting, without clarifying whether the meeting would include all “public transport” operators on the island, or just those in Patong.
However, Phuket Vice Governor Siwaporn Chuasawad noted, “There are 74 parking points for public transport vehicles. These areas will be painted to make them different (from parking spaces available to the public).”
Of high importance at the meeting was the issue of “public transport” drivers’ uniforms, for which Gen Pornsak was happy to report that the issue was “90% done”.
Apparently Phuket’s so-called “public transport” drivers** are unable to buy their own uniform shirts – and so the state-run Government Savings Bank will donate 10,000 shirts to the cause.
“The Government Savings Bank supported (the project by providing) 10,000 shirts for public transport drivers,” Vice Governor Siwaporn confirmed.
“At Phuket International Airport, more than 800 taxi drivers have been checked to ensure they wear the correct uniforms, and the problem of taxi drivers taking passengers not from the counter has been solved,” she added.
Regarding security at Phuket’s key tourism portal, V/Gov Siwaporn said, “Phuket International Airport security is at Level 3+”. More officers have been posted there and security officers continually carry out random checks.”
** All “public transport” options throughout Phuket are privately operated for profit. The only government-run service in Phuket are the iconic pink Po Thong buses operating in and around Phuket Town.