The driver, Surachai Riap-roy, 45, has also quit his job.
Facebook user ‘Mango Maimai’ posted photos and videos of her unsettling experience on the popular Khab Rod Baepnee Tong Prachan Phuket (Driving like this must be condemned) Facebook page on Saturday (Dec 15).
In he post, Mango Maimai said she called Phatthalung Thaksin Co on Friday night to book a ticket from Phuket to Phatthalung. She was told that all the regular seats were booked but that she could take an extra seat if she wanted.
She agreed and boarded the bus in Muang Mai, northern Phuket, at 9:15pm. As she was paying the attendant, she noticed the driver was teaching his young son to drive, with the boy sitting on his father’s lap and holding the steering wheel.
“The driver kept teaching his son to drive. Worse still, he was making a video call from his mobile phone to chat. I immediately decided to get off the bus at Tha Chatchai (the next stop),” she wrote.
“He doesn’t care for the safety of the passengers on board. This is a passenger bus, not a children’s playground for use as a driving exercise. How many lives are in your hands?” she said in her post.
As of this morning (Dec 17), Praprai Sounkul, Chief Policy Specialist at the Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO), confirmed that the driver, Surachai, had already been brought to task over the incident.
“Following the video on social media in the case of a Phuket public bus diver’s careless diving and also teaching his son, 7, to drive, I ordered the driver and (representatives of) the bus company's to come to the PLTO to explain themselves,” he said.
The driver, Surachai, confessed that he was the driver in the video posted online. However, he said that he still had his hand on the wheel while his son was ‘driving the bus’.
“My son got off the bus at the Phang Nga Bus Terminal, and I continued driving to Songkhla (the bus’s final destination),” Surachai said in his statement to the PLTO.
In turn, Mr Prapai confirmed, “The Phuket Land Transportation Office has suspended the driver’s license for one mouth and fined him B5,000 for careless diving.”
However, Surachai has already said that he will no longer drive public buses for a living.
He expressed his regret for the incident and said, “I take full responsibility for this and I have quit my job as a bus driver to take up another career.”