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chub

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About chub

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  1. OK I've got it! These are the departure times from each terminus. It's misleading because they use the same blue line to denote the route and stops on the website and buses. Now we see that there are gaps in service of up to three hours in morning and afternoon and there are only 8 trips per day. That's quite different from the press release that announced the Smart Bus launch on 3rd February. “The buses will run every 30 to 45 minutes,” he added. “The first departures will be from the airport and Rawai at 6am, while the last will be at 8pm. The total is 32 times a day" I really want this service to succeed but 8 daily departures instead of 32 is not viable for users travelling to work or to catch a flight. The tracking technology is 'smart', but it looks like they urgently need professional help with managing the service to meet passengers needs and to avoid incurring operating deficits.
  2. Can anyone explain this diagram 'Time Bus' on the Smart Bus Website? Does it tell us that it takes more than 12 hours to travel in either direction between airport and Rawai? Or is this bus a lot smarter than I am?
  3. Right now there are no buses on the route, (but there's also no published timetable). Bus no's 3, 4 and 7 are on Viset Road off the route, three (no's 5,6 & 8) are on Thepkassattri Road off the route, two are at the Homeworks depot and two are off the system. Is anyone going to stand at a bus stop and wait for these buses that never come? Does this look like a Smart Bus system?
  4. Some suggestions for the Smart Bus operator to make the service much more accessible to target users: 1. Establish stops at 1km intervals in each of the beach towns so that users do not have to walk a long distance or take another mode of transport to and from the bus stops. 2. Erect proper bus stops at each stopping place, and use existing shelters now occupied by tuk-tuk drivers. Prohibit parking and display service information (route, timetable, faretable, how to locate buses on the app.) in several languages) 3. Accept cash payment for the 6-month start-up period: the THB500 per person initial charge to board the bus is a big deterrent. Short stay tourists, especially families, will not be willing to invest so much in local travel. 4. As there are still no bus stops, tourists need help in recognising the bus as it approaches. The current bus livery is anonymous – they look like contract tour buses. The destination display just says ‘Smart Bus’ – not helpful. The main stopping places should be displayed. The front of the bus needs a bright, distinctive paint job. Even the current songtael operators know this! 5. The route is too long causing low frequency and unreliability. The section between Kata and Rawai has severe gradients, higher risk of accidents, and will not generate enough passengers to justify the extra distance and fuel consumption. Cut the route at Kata. 6. The core demand for the route will be the mid-section between Kamala - Patong- Karon- Kata. Operate this as a separate shuttle service on a regular 15-minute headway until at least 11.00 pm, with a flat cash fare.
  5. A garbled report on the new bus service appeared in Thaiger today The reporter thinks that Route A (southbound) and route B (northbound) are two separate routes. The report states that the route now extends to the airport domestic terminal. There's already an 'Airport Express" bus service claiming to serve Kata and Karon from the domestic terminal (although it has never been seen to operate past Patong). Some 'negotiations' may be needed with this operator, who also operates a fleet of airport minibuses to Patong, Karon and Kata. "Phuket’s new smart bus kicked off yesterday featuring two initial routes around the island. The route travels along Thepkasattri Road until it reaches Thalang where it takes a turn towards the coast through Cherngtalay and Bang Tao and on to Surin, Kamala and Patong. Then it continues along the coast to Karon and Kata, over the hill at Kata Noi to Rawai. Then it returns in the opposite direction, again taking the coastal road. ROUTE A Phuket International Airport – Rawai A1 International Terminal (Arrival) A2 Domestic Terminal (Arrival) A3 In Front of Thalang District Office A4 Boat Avenue, Cherngtalay A5 Bang Tao Mosque A6 Surin Beach A7 Phuket Fantasea A8 Kamala Big C A9 Junceylon Patong A10 Karon Circle A 11 Kata Night Plaza A 12 Rawai Beach ROUTE B Rawai – Phuket International Airport B1 Rawai Beach B2 Kata Night Plaza B3 Karon Circle B4 Bangla Road B5 Kamala Big C B6 Phuket Fantasea B7 Surin Beach B8 Bang Tao Mosque B9 Boat Avenue, Cherngtalay B10 In Front of Thalang District Office B11 International Terminal (Arrival) B12 Domestic Terminal (Arrival)
  6. There were eight buses in the Homeworks parking lot yesterday (Sunday) at 4pm see the photo below, so perhaps one or two were operating. Did anyone check the app which shows the real-time location of all the buses?
  7. "A few bus stops were recently erected northbound along Karon beach road (in exposed locations, distant from the sala/shelters which are all occupied by taxi and tuk-tuk drivers). The new bus stops carry only the operating hours of the long-established songtael service to Phuket Town - a service which is tolerated by the ‘interests’. "
  8. On March 6th the operators of the long-awaited Smart Bus between the Airport and Rawai announced: “At first we thought we would begin the service after the launch [on Feb 28] but the team has decided it would be better to test the systems for a month to make sure that the card charges the right amount of money, and ensure that the GPS and mobile application, which is upcoming, are accurate. “There have been initial issues with the system in Bangkok, so we want to make sure we have no problems here. We want to be sure,” he said. “Everything is ready, so the trial period will be finished no later than this month, possibly within March. Tomorrow is the last day of March and there has been no report of when, or whether, the service will start. Our passive news media has reported no follow-up; perhaps they have been persuaded not to. The ten new buses are sitting at their base near Central Festival. A cynical person would suspect that the delay is due to obstruction by those with interests in operating or controlling the huge fleets of taxis and hire cars that have done so much to damage tourism on the west coast. Those interests are very well represented in the local governments as they form an important voting constituency. There are no physical signs of local support for the new smart bus service. There are no dedicated bus stops or service information along the route. A few bus stops were recently erected northbound along Karon beach road (in exposed locations, distant from the sala/shelters which are all occupied by taxi and tuk-tuk drivers). The new bus stops carry only the operating hours of the long-established songtael service to Phuket Town - a service which is tolerated by the ‘interests’. In the southbound direction, all parking space is monopolised by taxis and tuk-tuks, so the smart bus will need to stop in the carriageway. There's no sign, no information or waiting space allocated for the Smart Bus at the international airport terminal. The route map on the Smart Bus website shows only one bus stop each in Kamala, Patong, Karon and Kata. The stopping places are 6-8kms apart compared with normal bus stop spacing of one kilometre or less. Passengers will have to walk long distances to and from the (unmarked) bus stops which will be a major deterrent to usage. Overall, the lack of service information, lack of publicity, the widely spaced, unmarked stops which are not cleared of parking and have no waiting shelters, seems to suggest this route, like its predecessor, is designed by people who have no concept of how a bus service should operate. How can it credibky be called ‘Smart’. Read more at https://www.thephuketnews.com/official-roll-out-of-phuket-smart-bus-delayed-66219.php#H57UiGHuztTSR5pb.99
  9. chub

    Phuket Smart Bus launches in style

    Below are some extracts from the response by the Airport Express company to a Question in the Phuket News of 20 September 2016 "Is the Phuket Airport Bus Still Running to Patong". The company claims it doesn't have a website or email address and its office cannot be found! They emphasise that no passengers may be picked up en route, (especially between Patong and Karon/Kata!). This company is clearly trying to deter passengers from using its service. I have never seen this bus in Karon or Kata. Extracts follow. The italics are mine. ------------------------------------------- "We launched the Airport Bus Express to Patong several years ago and later slowly expanded our service to include Kata and Karon. The fare to Patong is currently B150 and to Kata and Karon is B200. Tickets can be bought from the driver. (Edit: The fare to Kata and Karon is exactly the same as the Airport Minibus service operated by the same operator.) Our buses are cream-coloured with blue stripes. There is another bus service called “Airport Bus” that uses orange buses. These buses go to Phuket Town. If you take this bus, you will need to catch another bus in Phuket Town to take you to Patong. Please note that the bus will depart once it is full. Don’t worry, though, as we have buses departing Phuket Airport every hour. If you are in a hurry, it may be best to take a taxi from the airport. We advise the same to people who are carrying a lot of luggage with them. When you get on the bus, you must tell the driver where your hotel is. The driver will drop you off at your hotel if possible. However, if your hotel is on a steep hill that our bus will not be able to climb, we will ask you to travel in one of our minivans for convenience and safety. Don’t worry, the fare is the same. Passengers can get off the bus (or minivan) at several locations en route to Patong, Kata and Karon. However, the bus or van will not pick up any passengers en route. In Patong, we use Jungceylon as our main “terminal” for buses returning to Phuket Airport. If you want to use our service from Kata or Karon, please call us and we will pick you up. Likewise, if you are staying in Patong, just call us and we will pick you up if we can. Unfortunately, our website is no longer operating and our company currently does not have a contact email address, so it is best to contact us directly for the latest information. For more details or to book tickets in advance, or call us at 076-328291 or 084-0652122. Our main office is near the Bangkok Bank branch on Phang Muang Sai Kor Rd in Patong, near Nanai Soi 8,but many foreigners have trouble finding our office, so I strongly recommend you just call us." – Nikorn Petcharat, Manager, Airport Express Bu
  10. chub

    Phuket Smart Bus launches in style

    This report is not very complete. It doesn't tell you that you can see the route and the location of bus stops on website "choop.me" and https://phuket.cloud/bus/ on mobile phone or computer. This app shows the real-time location of each bus on the route. Right now there are five buses on the system. The first bus is heading south from the airport and is near Surin. Soon it will enter the tuk-tuk taxi mafia heartland of Patong and Karon!
  11. Today Phuket is due to take a Giant Leap into the 20th Century – a bus service! The following timetable was announced by the initiators PKCD on 3rd February. “First, there will be an internal company trial run around Feb 10, and then another trial before Feb 28 to pick up real passengers who are members of the public”. “For the launch on Feb 28, there will be a launch event at Central Festival East (HomeWorks) whereby the Phuket Governor, members of the Phuket Provincial Office as well as from the national office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MoTS) will be present. Tourism offices are important as Phuket is a tourism destination,” he said." However, please don’t go and look for a bus stop along the route just yet. In fact the route, timetable and stop locations have not been announced. I don’t think any bus stops or timetables have been erected. There are no signs or timetables visible at the airport. A Google search of Phuket Smart Bus produces no new information and there’s none on the PKCD website either. None of this looks very 'smart'. Perhaps those who benefit from the ‘status quo’ have prevailed.
  12. Some well-informed advice from a major local travel agent's website on the practices of the airport limousine operators. "PLEASE FOLLOW THE ADVISE BELOW Always book your Hotel and airport transfer in advance, even if only for one night. It is much easier to shop for a deal once you have escaped the Airport Taxi Touts, because no Hotel will be able to offer you any special deal when you arrive in an airport taxi. Also, drivers employed by Hotels are generally more friendly and helpful. If you don't have time to book in advance, simply order the taxi to go directly to the hotel of your choice and tell him you already have a booking. But this will sometimes create a problem for the hotel because if you dont have any documentation of your booking, the taxi driver will insist the hotel pay a commission anyway. They are very pushy and often times will volunteer to help carry your bags to reception so they can see if you produce documentation of a booking at check in. Never discuss your travel details with Airport Taxi drivers , treat them exactly as what they are, a service which employs low class people to perform the job of bringing you from point A to point B. Never give a taxi driver any respect, they see that as a sign that you are weak and can be taken advantage of. It is important to remember, they demand a commission on every night you stay not just the first night. They even come back and check with reception to see if you checked out or stayed longer. Please keep a note of the taxis ID number in case you want to report any strange behavior and in case the driver asks the hotel to pay a commission after you check in, you can give that information to the Hotel. Use the metered taxis if possible. Help them to get their business going, but please follow the same guidelines above as they also would like to get a piece of the hotel action."
  13. chub

    Raw sewage released into Phuket's Patong Bay

    But the original article quoting the mayor has already been removed from the PN website. Self censorship or pressure from affected interests? In 2014 Karon Municipality permitted untreated sewage to flow across Karon Beach but at least they erected an apologetic notice (only in Thai and English) warning tourists "to be careful."
  14. I guess it's time that I repeated my post of 19 November. "I have seen the "10% beach chair zones" growing so, out of curiosity, I measured the percentage of beach length covered by sun loungers on a few beaches. The blocks of umbrellas are easily visible on Google Earth and I think their measuring tools are pretty accurate. The measurements are based on satellite photos dated 16 April 2017, the end of last high season. Karon Beach has 5 blocks of chairs covering 27% of the length of the beach (excluding chairs within Centara Grand perimeter) Karon Nui Beach, occupied by the Meridien Hotel, has loungers on 40% of its length in 2 blocks Kata Beach has 2 blocks of sun loungers covering 30% of the beach length Patong has 5 blocks of sun loungers covering 16% of the beach length, but these are 3 or 4 rows deep We may expect further expansion of the "10%" zones in the current high season!"
  15. I have seen the "10% beach chair zones" growing so, out of curiosity, I measured the percentage of beach length covered by sun loungers on a few beaches. The blocks of umbrellas are easily visible on Google Earth and I think their measuring tools are pretty accurate. The measurements are based on satellite photos dated 16 April 2017, the end of last high season. Karon Beach has 5 blocks of chairs covering 27% of the length of the beach (excluding chairs within Centara Grand perimeter) Karon Nui Beach, occupied by the Meridien Hotel, has loungers on 40% of its length in 2 blocks Kata Beach has 2 blocks of sun loungers covering 30% of the beach length Patong has 5 blocks of sun loungers covering 16% of the beach length, but these are 3 or 4 rows deep We may expect further expansion of the "10%" zones in the current high season!
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