CHON BURI - The operator of ferry service between Pattaya and Hua Hin has extended the introductory free-ride period from Jan 15 to Jan 31, after stormy seas caused the cancellation of many trips.
The official launch of the much-publicised ferry service, operated by Royal Passenger Liner Ltd, has also been postponed from Jan 12 until next month because of the unfriendly weather conditions.
The Marine Department and the Meteorological Department have advised the company that more rough seas, strong winds and heavy rain are expected in the Gulf of Thailand.
The company said it will suspend the service on Jan 11-12 and Jan 19 for ferry maintenance and crew training.
On Jan 13-18 and Jan 20-31, the departure time from Laem Bali Hai pier in Pattaya will be changed from 8.30am to 10.30am due to changing tides. The passenger catamaran Royal 1 will also leave the pier at Hua Hin district in Prachuap Khiri Khan earlier, at 1.30pm instead of 3pm.
After the free-ride period ends, the basic fare will be 1,250 baht a trip per head.
Chief executive Preecha Tantipura said the company would strictly comply with safety regulations stipulated by the Marine Department. Intending passengers should look for any further announcements of changes to the schedule because of weather conditions on the company’s Facebook page -- @RoyalPassengerLiner.
The information on the company’s Facebook is currently only in Thai. Foreigners can call 0-3848-8999, or just walk in and inquire at the office.
The service launched unofficially on Jan 1, with free passage originally offered until Jan 15. However, the first run was delayed by rough seas in the Gulf and not made until Jan 5. The trip is advertised to take about two hours.
The service was suspended on Jan 6 for ferry maintenance and crew training. It resumed on Jan 7 and stopped again on Jan 8 and 9 due to bad weather.
The ferry returned to normal service on Tuesday, but its schedule will change on Thursday, with the announced later departures from Pattaya and earlier departures from Hua Hin, until the end of this month.
The ferry company announced it bought three of the passenger catamarans from China, but only one is in service to date.