After years of fights against taxi drivers who threatened to block attempts to have public busses serving Phuket airport, Thailand third busiest airport finally launched its much expected bus service to selected seaside destinations. The ceremony was held in front of the office of the service operator, Phuket Smart Bus Co Ltd (PKSB), an affiliate of the Phuket City Development (PKCD) Group.
PKCD Executive Director Watchara Jaru-ariyanon in his opening speech outlined that growing popularity of Phuket is also generating growing traffic jam and congestion. “There are about 10 million tourists visiting Phuket right now per year. If this number doubles to 20 million, traffic congestion will be much more severe” Mr Jaru-ariyanon stressed.
The bus is offering space for 24 passengers and as stated by Phuket Smart Bus, it provides superior comfort. “The windows are large to enjoy the view on the island, the route is beautiful, eats comfortable as buses are new and highly capable of travelling over the hills of the west coast,” said PKCD Executive Director. Wifi and USB plug are offered as well.
The buses will travel along the “Blue Route” from Phuket International Airport. The Blue route is linking popular seaside areas such as Surin Beach, Kamala Beach, Patong Beach, Karon Beach, Kata Beach and Rawai Beach to Phuket International Airport. There are currently 11 bus stops each way along the route, with plans to expand those to about 25 stops once new routes will be opened.
Prices for one way ticket fluctuate between THB50 and THB170 a far better price than what taxis generally charge. A ride from the airport fluctuates on average between THB400 and THB700.
The service is however on trial for one month and then will be revised following analysis of passengers traffic and their satisfaction. Phuket Smart Bus started to operate on March 1st and will be available every 45 minutes from 9 am to 5pm. Travel time is up to two hours.
Passengers must acquire a Rabbit X Phuket Smartcard and put at least THB300 (THB100 as a deposit and THB200 credit for rides). Cards are available on board of the busses but also in various outlets around the island.
This is not the only good news for passengers using Phuket crowded air terminal. The first phase of the renovation of the domestic terminal(South Hall) has been achieved last November by Airports of Thailand. It offers bigger check-in facilities including 22 check-in counters and additional lanes for security screening. AOT started the renovation of the second phase of the domestic terminal (North Hall) which is due to be completed by June 2018.