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Take the high road in making Patong Hill safer, says Phuket Poll

PHUKET: Officials cannot rely on a sole solution but instead need to take a comprehensive approach to fixing the deadly steep road down Patong Hill to prevent further deaths from runaway tour buses, say respondents to a recent online poll by The Phuket News.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 1 August 2017, 10:53AM

Rescue workers attend to the bus crash on Patong Hill on the night of July 10 that killed a 10-year-boy on holidays in Phuket with his father, who later also died from his injuries. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Rescue workers attend to the bus crash on Patong Hill on the night of July 10 that killed a 10-year-boy on holidays in Phuket with his father, who later also died from his injuries. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

The poll, which closed on Friday (July 29), was launched after after two tragic tour bus crashes on Patong Hill claimed three lives in less than two weeks.

On the night of July 10, a tour bus crash killed a 10-year-old boy and his father, both Chinese tourists on holiday in Phuket. (See story here.)

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. (See story here.)

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

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

Only 7% of respondents voted, “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.”

A further 12% agreed with Patong Mayor Chlermluck Kebsup’s opinion: “Re-engineer the road to reduce the gradient. The Patong Mayor is right, it is the fastest option.”

Even leaning on law-enforcement garnered little support, with only 10% of respondents voting, “Target bus operators with harsh penalties. If bad driving costs them, they will change drivers’ attitudes themselves and will take care of the vehicles.”

Despite all these options, the second-most popular response, which garnered 16% of the votes cast, was, “Simply ban all the big buses from Patong Hill. Tourists can be transported by minibuses.”

Yet by far the most popular response, with 54% of all votes cast, was: “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.”

Of note, 2% of respondents voted, “Do nothing. The government has already done enough. The rest is for everyone else to learn.”

The poll elicited a slew of written responses and suggestions from readers, from several that supported the long-awaited and much-promised plan to build the “Patong Tunnel” through the dangerous hills to even setting up staging areas for passengers to transfer to smaller vehicles for the journey over range. (See story here.)

For the full poll results, click here.

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

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



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