'Overworked' driver abandons bus, strands passengers for hours

'Overworked' driver abandons bus, strands passengers for hours

Forty-eight passengers, including Thais and foreigners, are left stranded for hours in Kamphaeng Phet after the driver of the Bangkok-Chiang Mai bus walks off on Thursday morning. (Photos via Facebook page of Voraphot Chupinit)
Forty-eight passengers, including Thais and foreigners, are left stranded for hours in Kamphaeng Phet after the driver of the Bangkok-Chiang Mai bus walks off on Thursday morning. (Photos via Facebook page of Voraphot Chupinit)

Unlucky passengers on a Bangkok-Chiang Mai bus got an unexpectedly long stay in Kamphaeng Phet province when their exhausted driver abandoned their bus in mid-journey.

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'Overworked' driver abandons bus, strands passengers for hours

Unlucky passengers on a Bangkok-Chiang Mai bus got an unexpectedly long stay in Kamphaeng Phet province when their exhausted driver abandoned their bus in mid-journey.

According to the passengers, the bus had left Mor Chit bus terminal in Bangkok at 8.30pm on Wednesday.

The first part of the trip went smoothly, but that changed when they reached Kamphaeng Phet and the driver stopped so the passengers could eat.

Normally, the stop would have been about 30 minutes, but this time it lasted an hour and a half.

When the driver finally reappeared, he drove for another 20km, then stopped the bus on the side of the road in tambon Salokbat for another hour.   

He drove the bus for another 40km and parked in front of the Kamphaeng Phet provincial administration organisation office, where he dozed for another 30 minutes before continuing the journey.

The fourth stop further down the road turned out to be the last. The driver simply got off the bus and walked away. When he did not return, passengers asked an attendant to go and look for him, but the attendant also disappeared. So a passenger called the police.

About 7am on Thursday, highway police and rescue volunteers were called to Phahon Yothin Road in tambon Songtham of Muang district, Kamphaeng Phet. There they found a long-distance bus with a Bangkok licence plate stopped on the side of the road, along with 48 stranded and bewildered passengers.

Authorities then contacted the bus operator to send another bus to take all the stranded passengers to their destination, the Chiang Mai bus terminal.

The bus driver, identified as Sakwarit Pawanthao, 40, finally did return with the attendant. He told police he was upset with his boss for requiring him to work for several days without a break. He was tired and overworked.

Police did not press any charges against him. Mr Sakwarit  later drove the empty bus back to Bangkok.

The private bus operator, Inthra Tour Co, is in big trouble, however, facing a licence suspension and a 50,000 baht fine. The driver, too, is likely to be fined 5,000 baht and his driving licence suspended for 30 days.

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Vocabulary

  • abandon: to leave someone/something - ปล่อยทิ้งไว้
  • attendant: a worker working at a place "attending" to something such helping customers - ผู้ดูแล
  • authorities (noun): people or government agencies who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • bewildered: confused and not certain what to do - งุนงงอย่างที่สุด
  • contact: to communicate with someone - ติดต่อ
  • destination: the place where someone or something is going - จุดหมายปลายทาง
  • disappear: to move something or someone somewhere where they can no longer be seen - หายไป, สาบสูญ, สูญหาย
  • doze: to fall asleep for a short time - งีบหลับไป, หลับไปโดยไม่รู้ตัว
  • empty (adj): having nothing inside; with no people or things - ว่างเปล่า, ว่างโล่ง
  • exhausted: extremely tired - เหน็ดเหนื่อย
  • fine: an amount of money that you have to pay because you have broken the law - ค่าปรับ
  • identified (verb): named, searched for a discovered - ระบุ
  • journey: travelling from one place to another, especially when they are far apart - การเดินทาง
  • licence: an official document that gives someone permission to do or use something - ใบอนุญาต
  • licence plate: a flat piece of metal or plastic on the front and back of a vehicle that shows its license number - แผ่นป้ายทะเบียนรถยนต์
  • normally: usually; in normal circumstances - โดยปกติ, ตามปกติ
  • operator (noun): a person or company that runs a business - ผู้ดำเนินกิจการทางธุรกิจ, ผู้ประกอบธุรกิจ
  • overworked (adj): made to work too hard or too much - ซึ่งทำงานมากไป
  • passenger: someone who travels in a motor vehicle, aircraft, train, or ship but is not the driver or one of the people who works on it - ผู้โดยสาร
  • press charges: to accuse someone officially of committing a crime - ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา
  • Provincial Administration Organisation (noun): the government of a province - องค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัด
  • reappear: to appear again after not being heard of or seen for a period of time - ปรากฏอีกครั้ง
  • rescue: saving a person or animal from a dangerous or unpleasant situation - การช่วยชีวิต
  • smoothly: happening or continuing without any problems - โดยไม่มีปัญหา
  • strand: to leave someone somewhere with no way of going anywhere else - ปล่อยเกาะ ถูกทิ้งไว้
  • stranded: left somewhere with no way of going anywhere else - ปล่อยเกาะ ถูกทิ้งไว้
  • suspension: stopping for a period of time - การยกเลิกชั่วคราว, การระงับชั่วคราว
  • terminal: a large building where passengers arrive and leave - อาคารผู้โดยสาร
  • unexpectedly (adv.): in a surprising way because you were not expecting it - อย่างไม่คาดฝัน, อย่างน่าประหลาดใจ
  • upset: unhappy or disappointed because of something unpleasant that has happened - ว้าวุ่นใจ, กังวลใจ, ไม่สบายใจ, สับสน
  • volunteer (noun): someone who is not paid for the work that they do; someone who does something willingly without being required to - อาสาสมัคร
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