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Phuket tour bus operators’ crisis deepens amid virus fallout

Phuket tour bus operators’ crisis deepens amid virus fallout

PHUKET: More than 1,200 tour buses in Phuket now lay idle as operators and drivers yesterday appealed to the Phuket Governor for assistance as the island struggles with the plunge in international tourist arrivals, mostly those from Mainland China, due to the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus.

By Khunanya Wanchanwet

Thursday 13 February 2020, 10:43AM

More than 100 tour bus operators and drivers gathered at the Phuket office of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to voice their concerns on Tuesday (Feb 12).

“After the Chinese government issued travel bans on their citizens because of the coronavirus, a lot of bus drivers now have no work, so we set up this meeting in order to listen to their problems,” explained Phuket Bus Operators Association President Anan Deepraserthere.

Satapon Rakmit, the association’s public relations member, told The Phuket News, “We need help fast. We need more time to pay back our debts and soft loans so we can stay in business and continue to perform bus maintenance during this time.

“At this stage, the big problem is that more than 90% of tour bus operators have not received payments from Chinese tour agencies they cooperated with. Some operators have not received payments for eight months, so we need government to help,” he said.

Thai Residential

“Operators are also facing problems with coping with the annual commercial registration fees for their buses license and insurance. Another big cost is the compulsory GPS system required by law, which costs B10,000 to install and around B3,500 per year to keep in operation,” he added.

“This bad situation may last five to six months, resulting in no income. Therefore we want the government to find measures to help,” Mr Satapon urged.

Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) Chief Banyat Kantha assured that Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana was already aware of the bus operators’ plight.

“The Phuket Governor already knows about this. We have collected information from the operators to pass on to the Phuket Governor so he he can find a way to talk with banks later,” Mr Banyat told The Phuket News.

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Kurt | 19 February 2020 - 12:53:16

DeK, I believe you, a good memory for 1 person, fed/fuelled by obsession and fascination . Keep it up.

DeKaaskopp | 18 February 2020 - 21:52:43

@K. No need to "build up"a file,all it takes is a good memory and the search function on here ! Done in 5 minutes.
@R. "If it wasn't for cheap alcohol,cheap shopping..." Omg,in what decade do you live ? But as this is your own statement,at least we all know now for what you came here.
@ Martin K  You nailed it.Totally agree.

Jor12 | 18 February 2020 - 14:25:45

@ r...and how do you know all this? - when you can't even calculate  the distance between two points on the globe

Rorri_2 | 18 February 2020 - 05:40:02

Dek, if it wasn't for cheap alcohol, cheap shopping, and cheap women, who would come to Phuket... oh wait, all 3 are now expensive, cand look at the lack of tourists, yes, some did choose to holiday here because of alcohol.... what brought you here.

GerryT81 | 17 February 2020 - 21:59:25

I guess there is no need for Pinocchio to buy a lot then.

MartinK | 17 February 2020 - 21:36:06

I suppose it would take a lot of alcohol to both encourage them to come and help them survive the visit. Actually, no it is not possible. There can not be that much alcohol in the world if you are as tiresome in person as you are on this site.

Kurt | 17 February 2020 - 14:35:08

Dek must, in fascination/obsession with me have build up a large file of my comments. Now we know why he has never time to comment on articles himself.  I am honoured. hehehe

Kurt | 17 February 2020 - 09:13:36

Dek, thank you for your 'police search job'  and 'follow'me with so much fascination. Could it be possible the 'stock' is not for myself but for friends and guests who visit me?

DeKaaskopp | 16 February 2020 - 20:11:51

" I not drink alcohol" Oh,that's weird given the fact you commented the following on an alcohol ban article:"Today got my stock of beer,wines etc." How you like to say: Lies have short legs" Indeed ! Btw,what tourist chooses his holiday destination by cheap available alcohol ? Only cheap Charly lowlifes.

Jor12 | 16 February 2020 - 18:13:01

better still, dont have a comment section. 

Sir Burr | 16 February 2020 - 07:52:58

Have to agree with pascale. This is getting ridiculous. Put a daily post count limit please!

Fascinated | 15 February 2020 - 12:56:48

A perfect time to get all the buses serviced and check for 'faulty brakes'.

Kurt | 15 February 2020 - 12:20:25

@ DeK, you can dim a bit, safe yourself high blood pressure. My comments are about several subjects. Why you sneeky shuffle 'cheap alcohol' into your reaction about me? I not drink alcohol. And did you do a tourist survey to confirm that alcohol is not important to tourists?

DeKaaskopp | 15 February 2020 - 10:43:08

"Prices in bars/restaurants higher than in European capitals" K,cheap alcohol may be a priority for you, but not of such an importance for tourists.And obviously did you never had a dinner in a Thai restaurant in Europe.Prices over there are much higher.As usual you don't know what you are talking about.

Pascale | 14 February 2020 - 18:13:29

7 comments in 4 hours.Please PN,allow the serial poster an own column. His daily output could easily fill up your own weekly hard copy of the PN.

Kurt | 14 February 2020 - 12:15:39

In Singapore are ( real!) branded goods, shoes, etc cheaper than in the big shopping complexes in Patong and Phuket town, were everything now unrealistic is overpriced. Plus of course the currency level of the THB. Time to get real + treating tourists as guests, not as throwaway commodity.

Kurt | 14 February 2020 - 12:05:45

Sometimes it needs just one matter to break through downwards while already many things are not in good order.No good public transport, dangerous taxi/van sleeper drivers, killing boat drivers, beach water and road pollution remains, dual pricing. Prices in bars/restaurants higher than in European capitals. Now, coronavirus is the cherry on the bad down pushing tourist cake. 

Kurt | 14 February 2020 - 11:38:35

Set up a new financial infra structure with reserve funds, including a unemployment insurance for drivers, for next time! This happening will not be the last one! Learn some financial buffer management instead 'managing by the day', read: shuffle money in the pocket without future thinking about rainy days. This is no business for Government in present constellation. 

Kurt | 14 February 2020 - 11:10:46

@ Discover Thainess, yes, you are right. Already last month I commented ( it were that time just 300 busses parked on a lot where they must pay 1000 thb for 1 month parking), to use the time to check brakes, and install sufficient exhaust pipes in order to stop the hazardous black fumes we suffer in the traffic from these busses. Guess nothing is happening. Just hand sitting managements.

JohnC | 14 February 2020 - 10:09:21

Maybe these people shouldn't be so quick to put themselves in debt up to their necks to banks. Living from day to day trying to make ridiculous payments on a debt you can't afford to have. Some people never learn.......

Kurt | 14 February 2020 - 08:33:21

It's time to modernise the Phuket tour bus park. Why Phuket allows those high/huge/ gigantic  busses with large not used cargo/luggage compartments on the road for day tours? Put lower, smaller ( electric?) busses on day tours.

Kurt | 14 February 2020 - 08:24:15

I must admit that driving Phuket roads without these 1200 health dangerous black smoke fuming busses is quite nice. The road traffic stream is lesser blocked/disturbed, more smooth.

Kurt | 14 February 2020 - 08:15:02

90% bus operators not received payments from Chinese Agencies for 8 months??? Than sue the Agencies. Thai always know fast the way to Courts, so what block them? If you as Operator let things loose for 8 months than it's your miss management. That is not Government business.

Discover Thainess | 13 February 2020 - 19:56:42

Why don’t the operators use the time to replace all the brakes on the buses so there will be no more failures? Honestly, Phuket is so much better without all these buses careering around. Long may they remain idle. 

Sandbar | 13 February 2020 - 13:15:13

Perhaps there could be reasonanle negotiations made between the bus operators and thier finacial instituations to suspend loan repayments without added intetest charged until this crises is over?


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