Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: There are some grandiose schemes underway to accommodate the rising number of vehicles plying Phuket’s roads, which is growing at a higher rate than ever with some 500 new registrations every month.

Few hold out much hope that the stranglehold on public transport by the island’s widely detested syndicates will ever be seriously addressed – at least in areas frequented by tourists. Although the provincial council recently won a national “innovation” award for its 'Pink Bus' system, the safe and friendly vehicles used on these routes are restricted to zones in and around Phuket Town – despite the fact that similar systems have been operating in virtually every other part of Thailand for decades.

Over in Patong, which has the highest tuk-tuk density and passenger fares in the world, we are told that work on the Patong Tunnel will be underway by 2013, and that the project is needed to ensure public safety.

Meanwhile, up on Patong Hill two backhoes have been beavering away on the nine-million-baht “Welcome to Patong” sign, funded under the government’s Thai Khem Kaeng (Strong Thailand) stimulus package.

How the sign will make Thailand “stronger” (or Phuket roads safer) is anyone’s guess, but the work raises an interesting question. How much road paint would nine million baht buy?

The question arises from the state of Patong Hill in the tunnel project area. As if the hairpin turns, steep gradients and oil residue on the road weren’t bad enough, the street lights no longer work – at a time when they're needed more than ever. Rounding out these perfect conditions for rainy-season mayhem and death are the badly faded road markings, where they can be seen at all.

But not all of Phuket's road safety problems can be put down to infrastructure. Local driving skills are apparently legendary (see consensus).

So government failures, island-wide, to perform in something as mundane as keeping the roads properly lined is baleful. Given the minuscule cost involved, it's also inexcusable. We don't need to talk about "budget" here.

A few years ago a group of Prince of Songkla University students showed that in many cases road lines can be rediscovered by simply using a stiff brush, strong detergent and a bit of water to scrape off the grunge.

Perhaps some folks are simply too busy lining their pockets to care much about lining our roads.
– Phuket Gazette

1

It's easy to solve. Take away the tuk-tuk mafia and start really good bus lines. Or get metered taxis to tourist areas.

Posted by farang swede October 24, 2010 02:29:52PM

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2

Every one is wasting time talking. The problem is personal greed as always.

Posted by barka October 24, 2010 02:50:00PM

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3

Patong Hill needs a proper median barrier in the middle. Vehicles were coming up three abreast the other day (that's cars not bikes!). It's totally ignorant and ridiculous. Trucks are banned at certain times of the day as well according to the signs but I've never seen it being enforced. 500 baht for a tin of paint and a little Burmese chap wouldn't make much of a difference though as some people seem to think the yellow is a centre line for their vehicle, not the road.

Posted by Mister Ree October 24, 2010 03:39:32PM

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4

Start bus lines along the Andaman coast and into the city and the supermarkets from all the beaches. That will reduce the coastal traffic by 50% in the tourist season.

Those tuk-tuks are very dangerous in traffic but all kind of people will start to use the buses if they are there.

This taxi protection here in Phuket is killing a lot of people, and making big problems for other necessary traffic.

Posted by Sivert Sterb October 24, 2010 03:40:31PM

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5

It's easy to solve. Take away the tuk-tuk mafia and start really good bus lines. Or get metered taxis to tourist areas.

Posted by farang swede

Is there a legal procedure for a Local expat to criminally charge the head of the striping (road) Department with accessory to manslaughter next time anyone is killed in a crossover accident? I am trying to establish a "Tort Liability".

Posted by Michael M. Arvin October 24, 2010 04:00:11PM

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6

Due to their unaffordability, the tuk-tuks are forcing people to rent motorbikes (only 150 baht a day) compared to the minimum price of 200 baht for a short journey.

We now have inexperienced riders plus alcohol and poor roadworks and many tourists and locals end up dead on Phuket's roads.

The situation with the tuk-tuks is causing pain and suffering to the victims and their families.

Posted by The Transporter. October 24, 2010 04:32:52PM

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7

Nothing is going to change so get used to more and more cars.

Posted by Lord Jim October 24, 2010 04:47:22PM

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8

Brave words and all true but unfortunately nobody will listen.

We can all preach until doomsday and nothing will ever change for the better. However, fortunately as foreigners we can all just leave when it gets too much to bear but many locals will be stuck with the mess created by greed, arrogance, discrimination and corruption.

You reap what you sow.

Posted by Amazing Thailand October 24, 2010 05:23:32PM

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10

I have only seen the crosswalks repainted once in the over 4 years I have lived here. Now you cannot see them anymore and I am talking about Patong.
What are the chances of anything else being done?

Posted by peter clifford allen October 24, 2010 07:49:43PM

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11

First step is to take away the tuk-tuks and do like all other cities in the world do: use public buses. Why Pattaya yes and Patong no?

Maybe too much money involved and a too strong tuk-tuk mafia in Patong?

Posted by cinin October 24, 2010 08:50:14PM

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12

It's easy to solve. Take away the tuk-tuk mafia and start really good bus lines. Or get metered taxis to tourist areas.

Posted by farang swede

Tuk-tuk mafia? There are no mafias in Phuket, only fraternities!

Posted by sg October 24, 2010 10:54:58PM

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13

Doesn't matter how much is spent on road paint or signs. They'll be ignored just like being on the correct side of the road against traffic or even on existing median divided major roads already.

So long as there are no consequences it doesn't matter what law you pass or how much you spend on decorations.

I liked the brand new count down stop light at the bottom of Nanai that functioned for a few days, before being switched to flashing, before being just shut off entirely. I wonder what that cost?

Posted by john October 25, 2010 04:12:37AM

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15

Dear editor, who may I ask pays any attention to highway/road lines? I have had so many near misses from over the line drivers that I could be awarded the silver star for bravery.

As for commercial transportation, one effective change could be the relocation of the new bus terminal to the By-Pass Road. This would clear the effects of turnaround difficulties as well as centralize passengers and tourists.

Posted by N2it October 25, 2010 09:09:17AM

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16

Why do we waste our time on comments on all the concerns in Phuket when nothing will ever be done to change things?

Posted by clickblade October 25, 2010 10:32:15AM

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17

I have only seen the crosswalks repainted once in the over 4 years I have lived here. Now you cannot see them anymore and I am talking about Patong.
What are the chances of anything else being done?

Posted by peter clifford allen

Unfortunately I must admit that I don't stop at crosswalks any more– it's too dangerous both to me as a driver and the pedestrians.

I'm more likely to get hit in the rear by some daydreamer or the pedestrians get taken out by motorbikes who have to get around me in order to get where they are going 5 seconds quicker.

By driving through crossings I am actually saving lives– unbelievable!

Posted by Mister Ree October 25, 2010 11:36:04AM

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18

I did say it in the past and I'll say it again, the problem is law enforcement!
We can paint any color we want and it will not make a difference.

The fact is that effective, efficient, ongoing and ethical law enforcement is missing. If the laws are properly, fairly and equally enforced for everyone, there will be less road fatalities, less crime, less problems, etc.

Posted by Again October 25, 2010 11:39:52AM

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19

Very ambitious and courageous article, well written.

Why a welcome sign instead of a center line? The answer lies in the nature of the people here. There was always a focus on show rather than on substance, a will to spend money on prestigious monuments, needed or not , such as the 50MB Gateway to Phuket. Making roads safer isn't a show piece.

Posted by Michael October 25, 2010 12:06:19PM

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20

I feel the same way as many do here on Phuket. Nothing will be done to change anything that will make this place safer. I see traffic jams everyday and it is getting worse. It will be like Bangkok before long. People keep lining their pockets with cash and the public suffers. Something drastic will have to happen to this island before things change.

Posted by rg October 25, 2010 12:29:04PM

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21

I agree with others in saying that nothing will really change.So instead of grumbling about it, why not have a contest betting on the number of accidents or deaths for a stretch of road over a certain period of time.Give it a fancy name and the winner(s) get their tuk-tuk fares paid for, for a month!

Posted by Relic October 25, 2010 03:27:53PM

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22

We all talk about it but what's missing here is the instinct found in every other part of the world... basic survival while driving. No one can fix that.

Posted by A Williams October 25, 2010 05:06:43PM

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23

So what do people have to say about the lights, paint, tuk-tuks and the rest of it?

Funny thing about the lights is they never seem to work between Karon to Patong, the new road in Pak Lok and Chalong to Kata. The worst thing (or one of the worst things) is the condition of the road from Karon to Patong. Some company is making a fortune on continually repairing that road!

Posted by tom notaro October 25, 2010 05:21:05PM

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26

It should be noted that Thailand's road line paint is non-reflective, whereas the rest of the world mixes glass beads, etc., into the paint to make it much more visible at night. Do I hear the word "cheapskate"? I think I do.

Posted by Tired of the act October 25, 2010 09:09:52PM

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28

Very ambitious and courageous article, well written.

Why a welcome sign instead of a center line? The answer lies in the nature of the people here. There was always a focus on show rather than on substance, a will to spend money on prestigious monuments, needed or not , such as the 50MB Gateway to Phuket. Making roads safer isn't a show piece.

Posted by Michael

Michael, I recently passed by the Phuket Gateway: it was run down, dilapidated, rotting away and absolutely deserted except for a few lizards.

It says a lot about local government, doesn't it? The 'Welcome to Patong' sign would seem to belong to the same category of Phuket 'improvements'.

Posted by Sam W October 26, 2010 09:42:21AM

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29

If Phuket roads don't improve you will find tourists won't return. If they see their lives are in danger just crossing the road with their children and some old folk not quick enough it will frighten them off. Along with the increase in violence there are more countries a lot safer so be warned.

Posted by patrick October 26, 2010 12:27:20PM

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30

I live in Phang Nga and drive past the Phuket Gateway most weeks. I have no idea what it is supposed to be and rarely see any cars there, I agree it seems to be slowly falling apart.

So much money was spent on the enormous Phuket Checkpoint but the bitumen is now in such poor condition it’s almost impassable.

But, hey, if Thailand was like Germany with sunshine I wouldn’t want to live here.

Posted by Brad October 28, 2010 09:47:10PM

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30

I live in Phang Nga and drive past the Phuket Gateway most weeks. I have no idea what it is supposed to be and rarely see any cars there, I agree it seems to be slowly falling apart.

So much money was spent on the enormous Phuket Checkpoint but the bitumen is now in such poor condition it’s almost impassable.

But, hey, if Thailand was like Germany with sunshine I wouldn’t want to live here.

Posted by Brad October 28, 2010 09:47:10PM

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0    0

29

If Phuket roads don't improve you will find tourists won't return. If they see their lives are in danger just crossing the road with their children and some old folk not quick enough it will frighten them off. Along with the increase in violence there are more countries a lot safer so be warned.

Posted by patrick October 26, 2010 12:27:20PM

Reply

0    0

28

Very ambitious and courageous article, well written.

Why a welcome sign instead of a center line? The answer lies in the nature of the people here. There was always a focus on show rather than on substance, a will to spend money on prestigious monuments, needed or not , such as the 50MB Gateway to Phuket. Making roads safer isn't a show piece.

Posted by Michael

Michael, I recently passed by the Phuket Gateway: it was run down, dilapidated, rotting away and absolutely deserted except for a few lizards.

It says a lot about local government, doesn't it? The 'Welcome to Patong' sign would seem to belong to the same category of Phuket 'improvements'.

Posted by Sam W October 26, 2010 09:42:21AM

Reply

0    0

26

It should be noted that Thailand's road line paint is non-reflective, whereas the rest of the world mixes glass beads, etc., into the paint to make it much more visible at night. Do I hear the word "cheapskate"? I think I do.

Posted by Tired of the act October 25, 2010 09:09:52PM

Reply

0    0

23

So what do people have to say about the lights, paint, tuk-tuks and the rest of it?

Funny thing about the lights is they never seem to work between Karon to Patong, the new road in Pak Lok and Chalong to Kata. The worst thing (or one of the worst things) is the condition of the road from Karon to Patong. Some company is making a fortune on continually repairing that road!

Posted by tom notaro October 25, 2010 05:21:05PM

Reply

0    0

22

We all talk about it but what's missing here is the instinct found in every other part of the world... basic survival while driving. No one can fix that.

Posted by A Williams October 25, 2010 05:06:43PM

Reply

0    0

21

I agree with others in saying that nothing will really change.So instead of grumbling about it, why not have a contest betting on the number of accidents or deaths for a stretch of road over a certain period of time.Give it a fancy name and the winner(s) get their tuk-tuk fares paid for, for a month!

Posted by Relic October 25, 2010 03:27:53PM

Reply

0    0

20

I feel the same way as many do here on Phuket. Nothing will be done to change anything that will make this place safer. I see traffic jams everyday and it is getting worse. It will be like Bangkok before long. People keep lining their pockets with cash and the public suffers. Something drastic will have to happen to this island before things change.

Posted by rg October 25, 2010 12:29:04PM

Reply

0    0

19

Very ambitious and courageous article, well written.

Why a welcome sign instead of a center line? The answer lies in the nature of the people here. There was always a focus on show rather than on substance, a will to spend money on prestigious monuments, needed or not , such as the 50MB Gateway to Phuket. Making roads safer isn't a show piece.

Posted by Michael October 25, 2010 12:06:19PM

Reply

0    0

18

I did say it in the past and I'll say it again, the problem is law enforcement!
We can paint any color we want and it will not make a difference.

The fact is that effective, efficient, ongoing and ethical law enforcement is missing. If the laws are properly, fairly and equally enforced for everyone, there will be less road fatalities, less crime, less problems, etc.

Posted by Again October 25, 2010 11:39:52AM

Reply

0    0

17

I have only seen the crosswalks repainted once in the over 4 years I have lived here. Now you cannot see them anymore and I am talking about Patong.
What are the chances of anything else being done?

Posted by peter clifford allen

Unfortunately I must admit that I don't stop at crosswalks any more– it's too dangerous both to me as a driver and the pedestrians.

I'm more likely to get hit in the rear by some daydreamer or the pedestrians get taken out by motorbikes who have to get around me in order to get where they are going 5 seconds quicker.

By driving through crossings I am actually saving lives– unbelievable!

Posted by Mister Ree October 25, 2010 11:36:04AM

Reply

0    0

16

Why do we waste our time on comments on all the concerns in Phuket when nothing will ever be done to change things?

Posted by clickblade October 25, 2010 10:32:15AM

Reply

0    0

15

Dear editor, who may I ask pays any attention to highway/road lines? I have had so many near misses from over the line drivers that I could be awarded the silver star for bravery.

As for commercial transportation, one effective change could be the relocation of the new bus terminal to the By-Pass Road. This would clear the effects of turnaround difficulties as well as centralize passengers and tourists.

Posted by N2it October 25, 2010 09:09:17AM

Reply

0    0

13

Doesn't matter how much is spent on road paint or signs. They'll be ignored just like being on the correct side of the road against traffic or even on existing median divided major roads already.

So long as there are no consequences it doesn't matter what law you pass or how much you spend on decorations.

I liked the brand new count down stop light at the bottom of Nanai that functioned for a few days, before being switched to flashing, before being just shut off entirely. I wonder what that cost?

Posted by john October 25, 2010 04:12:37AM

Reply

0    0

12

It's easy to solve. Take away the tuk-tuk mafia and start really good bus lines. Or get metered taxis to tourist areas.

Posted by farang swede

Tuk-tuk mafia? There are no mafias in Phuket, only fraternities!

Posted by sg October 24, 2010 10:54:58PM

Reply

0    0

11

First step is to take away the tuk-tuks and do like all other cities in the world do: use public buses. Why Pattaya yes and Patong no?

Maybe too much money involved and a too strong tuk-tuk mafia in Patong?

Posted by cinin October 24, 2010 08:50:14PM

Reply

0    0

10

I have only seen the crosswalks repainted once in the over 4 years I have lived here. Now you cannot see them anymore and I am talking about Patong.
What are the chances of anything else being done?

Posted by peter clifford allen October 24, 2010 07:49:43PM

Reply

0    0

8

Brave words and all true but unfortunately nobody will listen.

We can all preach until doomsday and nothing will ever change for the better. However, fortunately as foreigners we can all just leave when it gets too much to bear but many locals will be stuck with the mess created by greed, arrogance, discrimination and corruption.

You reap what you sow.

Posted by Amazing Thailand October 24, 2010 05:23:32PM

Reply

0    0

7

Nothing is going to change so get used to more and more cars.

Posted by Lord Jim October 24, 2010 04:47:22PM

Reply

0    0

6

Due to their unaffordability, the tuk-tuks are forcing people to rent motorbikes (only 150 baht a day) compared to the minimum price of 200 baht for a short journey.

We now have inexperienced riders plus alcohol and poor roadworks and many tourists and locals end up dead on Phuket's roads.

The situation with the tuk-tuks is causing pain and suffering to the victims and their families.

Posted by The Transporter. October 24, 2010 04:32:52PM

Reply

0    0

5

It's easy to solve. Take away the tuk-tuk mafia and start really good bus lines. Or get metered taxis to tourist areas.

Posted by farang swede

Is there a legal procedure for a Local expat to criminally charge the head of the striping (road) Department with accessory to manslaughter next time anyone is killed in a crossover accident? I am trying to establish a "Tort Liability".

Posted by Michael M. Arvin October 24, 2010 04:00:11PM

Reply

0    0

4

Start bus lines along the Andaman coast and into the city and the supermarkets from all the beaches. That will reduce the coastal traffic by 50% in the tourist season.

Those tuk-tuks are very dangerous in traffic but all kind of people will start to use the buses if they are there.

This taxi protection here in Phuket is killing a lot of people, and making big problems for other necessary traffic.

Posted by Sivert Sterb October 24, 2010 03:40:31PM

Reply

0    0

3

Patong Hill needs a proper median barrier in the middle. Vehicles were coming up three abreast the other day (that's cars not bikes!). It's totally ignorant and ridiculous. Trucks are banned at certain times of the day as well according to the signs but I've never seen it being enforced. 500 baht for a tin of paint and a little Burmese chap wouldn't make much of a difference though as some people seem to think the yellow is a centre line for their vehicle, not the road.

Posted by Mister Ree October 24, 2010 03:39:32PM

Reply

0    0

2

Every one is wasting time talking. The problem is personal greed as always.

Posted by barka October 24, 2010 02:50:00PM

Reply

0    0

1

It's easy to solve. Take away the tuk-tuk mafia and start really good bus lines. Or get metered taxis to tourist areas.

Posted by farang swede October 24, 2010 02:29:52PM

Reply

0    0

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