The MoU was signed at the PSU Phuket campus in Kathu on Tuesday (Jan 26).
Present as signatories were PSU Phuket Campus Vice Chancellor Assoc Prof Dr Phan Tongchumnum and Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup.
Also present as signatories were Maroot Siriko, CEO of AMR Asia Co Ltd, and Thaphana Bunyaprawit, President of the Thai Association of Town Planning.
“Signing the MoU follows our university’s goal of being part [of the move] to improve Phuket by investing in the infrastructure to support tourism, in order to welcome tourists after the pandemic situation has been resolved and the country has fully reopened,” Dr Phan explained.
“Patong should have a good and nature-friendly transport system to connect people and places. Our university has scholars and other human resources to support and work with private companies to develop our island,” he added.
AMR Asia President Mr Maroot noted, “We have already examined the landscape of Patong to make a plan to construct a cable car system and a ferris wheel which will also have a skywalk and glass lift.
“Patong has many areas where new attractions can be built and attract more tourists.” he said.
“After this, there will be a public hearing to obtain comments from local people and business operators about the location of the project so that the project can support their businesses and does not affect the beauty of Patong,” Mr Maroot added.
“For the electric bus service, we will discuss this more with the Patong Mayor, and the Department of Land Transport for the permission on using the road. We will also discuss with taxi drivers about bus stops and the service route, so that the buses do not affect their business,” he said.
“There will be smart cards, smart bus stops,and smart parking lots for local people in the same way that are used in Bangkok,” Mr Maroot explained.
“Our company signed a MoU with PTT Public Co Ltd last year for research about the project, and about installing EV chargers in Thailand. Right now, we are ready to install EV chargers in all areas of Phuket, and we will install in Patong as the first area in this year,” he said.
The EV charging points discussed were not just for the electric bus service being proposed, but also for private vehicles, Mr Maroot explained.
Mr Thaphana, who also serves as a committee member of the Thai Charter for Health, explained that the projects proposed “would move forward the economy and attract more investment in Patong”.
“I expect that we will have determined the location for the cable car station and the route for the electric bus service in May this year,” he said.
“Meanwhile, the electric bus and EV charger installations are expected to start at the end of this year, if the project gains a good response from local people,” he added.
“As for the construction of the cable car and ferris wheel, they may need to wait for a new town plan at the beginning of next year, so that we can file for construction permission.” Mr Thaphana noted.
“The cable car may generate up to B150bn within five years after it opens for service. The whole project – cable car, ferris wheel, skywalk and glass lift – will generate about B200bn,” he said.
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub