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Phuket Bus terminal readies for relaunch

Phuket Bus terminal readies for relaunch

PHUKET: Ahead of the reopening of Phuket Bus Terminal 2 tomorrow, Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) Chief Banyat Kantha has confirmed that public interprovincial buses are permitted to continue their journeys throughout the night curfew hours of 11pm to 3am. 

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Thursday 4 June 2020, 06:19PM

Buses stand at the ready at Phuket Bus Terminal 2 today (June 4). Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Buses stand at the ready at Phuket Bus Terminal 2 today (June 4). Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Mr Banyat broke the news at the bus station, located in Rassada north of Phuket Town, at an event held today (June 4) during which the key transport facility underwent a major cleaning by staff and bus operators.

“Under the extension to the Emergency Decree, public buses travelling between provinces are allowed to continue travelling during the nightly curfew hours,” Mr Banyat said.

As such, buses to and from Phuket are allowed to continue their journeys through the night as long as the bus begins its transit before 11pm and arrives at its destination after 3am, he explained.

“The Department of Transport has set measures for public transport users, drivers and passengers in order to protect against the spread of COVID-19, Mr Banyat added.

“Passengers must wear face masks all the time, avoid using their phones while onboard and use alcohol gel to wash their hands,” he said.

“Drivers, check yourselves. If you develop a fever, stop work. Wear a face mask at all times. If a passenger starts coughing while on the bus, turn off the air-conditioning and open the windows [if there any that can be opened], and arrange alcohol gel for passengers to use to cleanse their hands,” he said.

“All vehicles must be cleaned after each service, especially frequently touched areas. Use cleansers with 70% alcohol and open the windows when finished cleaning,” he added.

“Everyone has to maintain social distancing, both the bus terminals and onboard the buses,” Mr Banyat said.

Chop Puttasupa, chief of Phuket Bus Terminal 2, explained that about 30% of the full schedule of bus services will resume tomorrow.

“Operators have tried to make the traveling schedule for each route to arrive at their destinations before 3pm, so that passengers can reach their final destinations before the curfew begins,” he said.

“Tomorrow, there will be buses to Hat Yai, Ranong, Nakhon Sri Thammarat and Nong Khai. For buses to Bangkok, we have to wait for confirmation from operators again on Saturday,” Mr Chop said today.

However, he added, “If anyone wants to go to Bangkok urgently, they can board the bus to Nong Khai, or any other buses passing through Bangkok, as they will stop there as well.

“Passengers should contact bus operators directly for booking and more information about bus services and times,” he added.

Also present to witness the major cleaning event today was Rassada Mayor Phudit Raksaraj.

“Any persons with a body temperature higher than 37.5°C or not wearing a face mask will not be permitted to enter the bus terminal,” Mayor Phudit said.

“If you see any bus drivers not following the regulations and ignoring social distancing, please inform the Passenger Protection and Complaint Center for Public Buses by calling 1584, open 24 hours,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department earlier today issued a reminder that all people entering or leaving Phuket must register their travel details through the PhuketSmartCheck-In app.

Bangkok warning

In Bangkok today, Natapanu Nopakun, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Information and Deputy Spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, urged people to travel between provinces only when “absolutely necessary”.

During his delivery of the national daily COVID- situation report at the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) at Government House, Mr Natapanu relayed the language national address delivered by CCSA Spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin.

“The spokesperson also mentioned in the press briefing about the certain images that we have seen in the past day of crowds gathering in beach resorts, particularly in Bang Saen. So we hope that that will not continue.

“We hope that although we have interprovincial travel now it will not be congested thus leading to the fourth phase which will be in place in the middle of June 2020.

“So even though the situation seems to be positive and travelling across provinces still needs to be regulated and kept to a minimum and such movement may cause the spread of the virus which will be difficult to control,” Mr Natapanu explained.

“We have found examples of this in the past weeks and months when people traveling back to home provinces were found to be the main one of the main causes of the spread of the virus 

“So the bottom line is to keep interprovincial travel to a minimum, and only when necessary, when absolutely necessary,” he said.

“When traveling it’s important that everyone follows the health guidelines that were already announced,” Mr Natapanu added.

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