Free airport-island shuttle bus eyed for Phuket

Passengers using Phuket airport could have an alternative to expensive taxis and a public bus: a free shuttle bus run by Airports of Thailand to three locations on Phuket's resort island. (Bangkok Post photo)

PHUKET — A new, free shuttle bus service, provided by Airports of Thailand and running from Phuket airport to Saphan Hin, Karon and Rawai was discussed in a meeting held Tuesday.

The meeting, chaired by governor Nisit Jansomwong and attended by relevant departments, was aimed at assisting with the management and organisation of the Airports of Thailand Phuket office, according to the Phuket News.

Speaking about the new bus service, lawyer and political adviser, Sarayuth Mallam proposed that there should be three line: First would be airport-Bangtao-Kamala-Patong-Karon (Beachfront line). Second would be airport-Bang Ku-Chaofa West-Rawai and third would be a city line to Saphan Hin.

However, president of Phuket Tourism Business Association Sathirapong Na Takuatoong said "if we want to do the shuttle bus, it shouldn't affect the earnings of other people. We might focus on the waiting time; if you want to travel cheap you have to wait maybe half an hour for a bus to be available. That will not take advantage of the metered taxis."

Deputy director of Airports of Thailand's Phuket office 2nd Lt Thani Chuangchoo said, "That would mean that there would then be two types of airport bus. One would be a shuttle bus and the other is the airport bus.

"With the shuttle bus, when passengers take the route to or from the airport the bus will only stop at designated points, but with the airport bus this will stop anywhere along the route to pick up passengers," he said. "I think the shuttle bus is more universal, but passengers will need to show their boarding pass before using the bus because it will be free."

Gov Nisit stressed that the shuttle bus is necessary to meet the needs of airport passengers.

Currently, there are two routes for the airport bus - the Phuket town line and Kata-Karon. However, these are not operated by AoT.

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