State-owned Transport Co plans to run its first three-country passenger bus service with Laos and Vietnam following the success of its transnational services.
Acting president Noppharat Karunyavanich said negotiations were underway with authorities of the two countries to operate passenger bus services from Thailand's Nakhon Phanom province via Thakhek of Laos to Ha Tinh province of Vietnam. Thakhek is the capital of Khammouane province of Laos.
Transport Co had focused on cross-border bus services for quite a while but the latest initiative would be its first three-country service, Mr Noppharat said.
"A request is underway to seek a service licence from the Department of Land Transport. If it is obtained, the three countries can sign a memorandum of understanding," he said.
Transport Co operates 14 transnational bus routes: 12 to Laos and two to Cambodia. The Laos services link several Thai provinces with destinations in Laos including Vientiane, Pakse, Savannaket, Thakhek, Luang Phrabang and Vang Vieng.
The services to Cambodia runs from Bangkok via Poipet to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
Deputy Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said he hoped Laos, Thailand and Vietnam could sign the memorandum of understanding for the three-country bus service within July.
To meet increasing demand, Transport Co recently doubled its bus frequencies from two to four daily on routes to Vientiane, Pakse, Luang Phrabang and Siem Reap, he said.
Mr Noppharat said that passenger numbers had quickly increased and should further rise after the formation of the Asean Economic Community late this year.
Transport Co was also studying routes to Myanmar, he said.