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Poll: What should Phuket do about the deadly Patong Hill road?

PHUKET: Phuket officials are looking for a solution to prevent further bus crashes on Patong Hill, after two tragic accidents claimed three lives in less than two weeks.

tourism, transport, accidents, death, patong, opinion,

The Phuket News

Saturday 15 July 2017, 09:00AM

Phuket officials disagree on how best to prevent further deadly tour bus accidents at the bottom of Patong Hill. What do you think they should do? Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub
Phuket officials disagree on how best to prevent further deadly tour bus accidents at the bottom of Patong Hill. What do you think they should do? Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Last Monday night (July 10) a tour bus crash killed a 10-year-old boy and his father, both Chinese tourists on holiday in Phuket.

That accident came less than two weeks after another runaway tour bus killed a 40-year-old woman who happened to be riding a motorbike on the street where all drivers of out-of-control “brake failure” buses aim to come to a rest, instead of slamming into a concrete wall beside the entrance to the street.

Together, the two accidents left nearly 50 people, mostly tourists, injured.

During an “emergency meeting” held this week to address the issue, Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong ordered Phuket Provincial Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Thawornwat Kongkaew to form and head a committee assigned to tackle the problem.

Gov Norraphat also vowed to press for the Patong Tunnel project to finally be pushed ahead, which – if ever completed – would remove the need for heavy vehicles to have to descend the steep hill into Patong.

Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup called for the government to re-engineer the deadly road down the steep hill descending into the key resort town in the hopes of preventing further tour bus accidents claiming the lives of tourists and local residents. This is the fastest option among those available, Ms Chalermluck stressed.

Meanwhile, the recently arrived Patong Police Chief Col Tassanai Orarigadech called for harsher penalties for bus operators using ill-maintained vehicles on the road, and Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) Chief Banyat Kantha suggested focusing on driver training.

To all this, The Phuket News asks readers the simple question, “What should Phuket do about the deadly Patong Hill road?”

Responses available are:

1. Re-engineer the road to reduce the gradient. The Patong Mayor is right, it is the fastest option.

C and C Marine

2. Driver education is key, as well as strict penalties for reckless drivers. If we don’t change drivers’ behaviour, we won’t change anything that will fix the problem.

3. Target bus operators with harsh penalties. If bad driving costs them, they will change drivers’ attitudes themselves and will take care of the vehicles.

4. Simply ban all the big buses from Patong Hill. Tourists can be transported by minibuses.

5. Do all of the above. The problem needs a mutli-pronged approach to be effective and to avoid any “weak link” from becoming the scapegoat for policy failure.

6. Do nothing. The government has already done enough. The rest is for everyone else to learn.

To vote in the poll, click here.

If your preferred response is not listed, feel free to add it in the comments section below.

The poll will run for two weeks, closing at midnight Friday, July 28.

To see the results of our previous poll, “Should travel insurance be made compulsory for visitors to Thailand?”, click here.

Email suggestions for a poll to with “Poll Suggestion” in the Subject line.



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Christy Sweet | 17 July 2017 - 13:56:47

Constant stopping and starting, against a large vehicle's weight is why brakes fail. I  suggest police be posted at all times to  clear traffic while the vehicle waits,  which will allow it to descend the hill unimpeded.  

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Aj Raymond RITCHIE | 16 July 2017 - 16:15:32

Two of my students were nearly killed on Pattong Hill.  Frightens me every trip over it. It really does need an ambulance station.

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malczx7r | 15 July 2017 - 18:35:16

What's the point, they'll never listen to a farang!
Nearly everyone has commented the reason but yet it eludes those in charge!

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kash | 15 July 2017 - 15:15:04

There Should Be an Accident and Emergency Medicine Unit On The Patong Hill 

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sharp | 15 July 2017 - 12:41:42

Safe vehicles, competent drivers, its not the hill its the users.. Simple!! 

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Discover Thainess | 15 July 2017 - 12:22:34

A multi pronged approach is needed but the road itself is fine. Plenty of other steep hills around the world that people manage to drive on every day without killing each other. Vehicles need to be well maintained and inspected properly. However the issue is the same one I raise every time: driver education. You see every driver, every day, brake lights on all the way down the hill. They need to be taught to use a low gear (that's what the L on an auto gearbox is for!!) so you don't cook your brakes until they fail at the bottom. This is the real issue and one that should be easily implemented. Coming down the hill I only ever apply a couple of dabs of brakes, that's all that is ever needed if you use engine braking.  At least one of the people at the meeting knew this. Blaming the hill, blaming the vehicles, blaming the tunnel is pointless: it's the squishy thing behind the wheel that needs to take responsibility. 

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Concernd | 15 July 2017 - 11:56:00

I don’t see the option for a Tunnel 
Coming from a mountain country in the heart of Europe with lots of tunnels this is my opinion for the safest Way to Patong
For a Tunnel which safe lives
The assumable best secure way to Patong 
How many more ancients have to happen over the hill to Patong which most likely would not happen if there would be a tunnel?
A tunnel will help most likely to assure unfit vehicles, big busses, big truck and inexperienced steep hill drivers will arrive save in Patong 
Patong has das become city so logistically Trucks and Busses will need to access Patong with supplies  
Make sure that it is not possible to overtake in the tunnel with concrete blocks lane separation.
Block and don’t allow unfit truck busses and vehicles over the hill Finance the Tunnel with like they do in Bangkok the Highways Expressways toll .
Think about, be wise 
A strait road through a Tunnel is safer to drive then a danger curvy steep up and down hill road.

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Foot | 15 July 2017 - 10:49:48

The cheapest, safest, and can be done tomorrow?  
Put police on the hill every 300 meters.
Give them cameras to take pictures of any offender.
Give offenders real tickets at the bottom of the hill.

So simple to do.  Think they will?

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Island Man | 15 July 2017 - 10:13:01

Only allow police escorted buses over Patong hill.

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Belzybob | 15 July 2017 - 08:59:37

You simply cannot engineer every bend or hill in the kingdom to cater for the incompetence of the drivers or the operators/maintainers.

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