Manop Sutthipong, the Surat Thani land transport office chief, said yesterday (Sept 2) that minivan owner Chanranong Boonjui and driver Watchayan Yongbangtrai will be ordered to the office.
The owner will be fined for violating public safety and failing to turn on the GPS device on the vehicle, while the driver will be suspended from the wheel for 30 days, the official said.
He did not give details of the punishment to be slapped on the owner, and did not address a further complaint that the ticket was overpriced.
The incident came to light in a post by Pimpaka Ritraksai on her Facebook account on Friday (Aug 31).
She and a companion had bought a minivan ticket from Phuket to Surat Thani for B200 each, she wrote. On her return journey on Friday, she had to pay B350 for each ticket – a 75% rise – at the terminal in Surat Thani.
Her travel companion asked the ticket seller about the different ticket price and the answer was that “it’s different”, Ms Pimpaka wrote.
During the journey back to the resort island, she continued, the driver drove dangerously fast. A picture posted on her account showed the dashboard speedometer at 130km/h.
“He overtook one vehicle after another as if we were on a racing circuit,” said Ms Pimpaka, who sat in the front compartment beside the driver. “He drove so fast I did not dare close my eyes.”
Foreigners sitting in the rear compartment told Watchayan to slow down for the safety of the passengers. The driver reportedly became angry and told them that if he drove slowly, they wouldn’t get to Phuket till the next day. If they were scared, he said, they were free to get out of the van.
Surat Thani is about 280 kilometres from Phuket.
After the foreigners continued to complain about the minivan’s speed, Watchayan pulled over, walked around to open the passenger door and berated them.
“You see. Thai people no worry,” the driver tells them in the recorded video clip. “Are you worried? Oh, my god...you okay?”
Ms Pimpaka wrote that the incident was quite traumatic. “I felt the pressure. I looked at the faces of the foreigners, they were scared,” she wrote.
“For me, at that point, it was like a nightmare,” she added.
She posted another message yesterday to thank officials for taking action against the driver.
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