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Phuket input sought for light-rail plans

PHUKET: Governor Chockchai Dejamornthan has called on the people of Phuket to turn out and voice their opinions on what they would like to see the decades-in-coming light-rail project to become.

tourism, transport, economics, construction,

Yutthawat Lekmak

Tuesday 31 January 2017, 12:10PM

Construction of Phuket's multi-billion-baht light-rail project will start next year, says Phuket Governor Chockchai Dejamornthan, though the project has yet to even pass its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Photo: The Phuket News / file
Construction of Phuket's multi-billion-baht light-rail project will start next year, says Phuket Governor Chockchai Dejamornthan, though the project has yet to even pass its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Photo: The Phuket News / file

Public feedback meetings will be held at the Thalang District Office on Feb 6 and again at Wichit Municipality office on Feb 7.

“Feel free to attend and share your opinions,” Gov Chockchai said.

Gov Chockchai remains adamant that Phuket’s light-rail carriages – which he called “trams” – will actually start rolling in 2021.

“Construction will start next year and finish in 2020. The tram service will be officially launched in 2021,” Gov Chockchai said.

Gov Chockchai noted that there had been some more changes to the 60-kilometre route and other aspects of the project, which in one year alone has seen its espoused budget balloon from B23.5 billion in November 2015 (see story here) to B30bn reported only last month (see story here).

Regardless, Gov Chockchai repeated, “Construction will be completed within the next three years.

“The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) is in the process of seeking potential bidders for the project, which will be run under a public-private partnership,” Gov Chockchai explained.

British International School, Phuket

However, that would indicate the government is seeking bidders for a construction project that has yet to be defined.

A map of the exact route of the light-rail has yet to be made public, and despite Gov Chockchai’s visit to China last month, the type and design of rail cars remains a mystery.

Hopefully shedding some light on the project, Gov Chockchai told The Phuket News this week, “The light-rail line will be built along the streets. It will pass Phuket International Airport and continue along Thepkrasattri Rd.”

Other than that, Gov Chockchai’s description of the project plans made no departure from previous reports over the past two years.

“The light-rail tram service will have 23 stations, starting at Tha Noon in Phang Nga and ending at Chalong Circle in Muang District,” he said.

“Once complete, this project will help support Phuket’s economy as it will make travel more convenient for commuters and tourists while easing traffic congestion,” Gov Chockchai said.



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Kurt | 01 February 2017 - 18:45:38

@ Eagle, the Phuket airport bus is the Phuket airport bus.
Yes, there is no sufficient decent public transport.
Don't call these blue , without bus stops, converted cartoon lorries( no seats, no seat belts) with wooden benches, busses. And they stop at sunset.

Altogether I call that a absence of normal public transport, on the richest island province of Thailand.
Anyway, give yourself a injection with something that makes you start to learn to write your own comments.  :-)

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Eagle | 01 February 2017 - 10:43:01

The article says there is a public feedback meeting on Feb.6  and Feb.7.Everyone is invited.So Kurt,you can go there and share your opinion!!!!!!!!!And about the information you gave to Pinot,you are right.Funny thing is just a few  days ago you wrote that Phuket has a total absence of public transport!!So, it seems you learned something and your former comment is just an example of your unqualified assertions.

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Kurt | 31 January 2017 - 18:57:39

@ Pinot. There is a bus service Phuket airport-Patong.
There are a few more bus services.( Phuket town--> Airport)
Problem is, they have to keep low profile, in order not to disturb the Phuket transport mafia.
Transport Openness is a sin on Phuket Island.

Never expect in Phuket airport arrival hall, hotels, etc, pamphlets/brochures about Phuket public transport.

And most public transport stops primitive around sunset. 
It is not the tourist service what counts, it is the thai greedy pocket.
No service attitude.

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Kurt | 31 January 2017 - 14:16:50

At what date will we hear or this proposed project have passed the..Environmental Impact assessment Act?...

Share opinion about what?
--- There is no exact route yet.
--- Type and design of rail cars still a mystery.
--- Not sure now what will be the outcome of Environmental Impact Assessment.
--- Last stop at Chalong Circle? How? Where is the space for that?
"Last stops" always create a palette of different mobility, like taxis, minivans, tuk tuks, taxi motorbikes, private cars.
That needs SPACE. Chalong Circle has no space.  
To make the last stop at Rawai Pier makes more sense.

And,.. how to seek bidders for a project what still has not been defined?  
Looks a bit like a 'financial blind date'. Guess that will thai work.

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Pinot | 31 January 2017 - 12:59:11

I foresee a long and troubled mess before we ever see our first "Tram". How about a public transportation system using buses before we start with the trams. Why is there no public transportation between beaches? Or a bus from Patong to the airport? No because that steps on the tuk tuk mafias toes and we can't have that. Instead we have thousands and thousands of taxis. 

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CaptainJack69 | 31 January 2017 - 12:36:34

Hopefully someone can explain to the governor that, unless these trams actually go somewhere where people want to go, then they will be completely useless and ignored. Where's the connection to the west coast? In to Phuket Town? Down the Bypass Road to Tesco, Big C, Central? Will it even actually connect to the airport, or stop out on the main road?

Now consider this. How many modern, clean, air-conditioned buses would 30 billion baht buy? And by how much would that reduce the gridlock on Phukets desperately overcrowded roads? Do they think we enjoy spending all day sitting in traffic, fighting for space with motorbikes, minibuses, coaches and taxi's? Given the choice wouldn't most people rather sit on a cool comfortable bus than get on a motorbike and risk their lives?

Apparently this is obvious to everyone except the governor, who wants to actually make traffic worse by putting "tram" lines down the busiest road on Phuket, reducing the available road space, for a public transport system that nobody will use.

Do the taxi cartels really still hold THAT much power over Phukets administrators?

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