Phuket Airport bus to extend service to Kata ‘soon’
The Phuket Provincial Land Transportation Office (PLTO) is expected to give its blessing soon for an extension of the current airport-Patong bus service to Karon and Kata.
Prakob Panyawai, owner of Phuket Airport Bus Express, told The Phuket News yesterday (November 25), “We are still serving people as per the time schedule. I have been talking with the PLTO about extending the service to Karon and Kata.
“If it is approved the route from Phuket Airport to Patong would still be the same and we would go on from there to the final bus stop outside Karon Municipality [in Kata].
“I still have to discuss [with the PLTO] about stops along the way.
“Our plan is to add four minibuses to the system. We will try it out for three months and see what passenger numbers and revenue look like.”
Addressing comments about the bus service not using a bus, but minibuses instead, he explained, “As everyone knows well, bus maintenance is more expensive than van maintenance. So if there are not many passengers [at the scheduled departure time] we transfer passengers from the bus to a van in order to cut costs.”
Jaturong Kaewkasi, chief of the PLTO, told The Phuket News, “We will consider this soon. It would really good for Phuket.” He added that the PLTO has to give careful consideration to the fare it approves for the extended route.
“We have to find a balance between the interests of the passengers and the bus company. It has to be good for both sides.”
When Phuket Airport Bus Express was launched, its buses had “Patong Beach, Karon Beach, Kata Beach” painted on the side.
But taxi drivers in Karon and Kata warned of violence if the buses invaded “their” territory. The last two destinations were painted over.
However, since the crackdown on taxi “mafia” activity following the Army coup, and the arrests of many of those involved, the threats have evaporated, allowing the bus company to look at the planned extension.