New airport-Kata bus service to launch in Phuket

Posted on January 22, 2013


Despite the possibility of a violent reaction from taxi and tuk-tuk drivers, a new bus service linking Phuket International Airport to Kata via Patong will begin in March, the Chief of the Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO), Teerayut Prasertphol, has announced.


The price for the new service will be B120 for the full airport-Kata route. The plan is to have six other stops in between, at Thalang, Koh Kaew, Tesco Lotus on the bypass road, Thung Thong intersection (Kathu), Patong and Karon, with passengers able to get on or off at any of the stops.

The buses will run from 6am to 8pm. The exact schedule has yet to be fixed, but the aim is to make it fit with airliner take-offs.

“The target customer is local people. It is less expensive and more convenient for people than using an expensive taxi,” Mr Teerayut explained. “The buses are all air-conditioned and have luggage space for travellers.

“Also, it helps to reduce traffic problems, which have become a very big issue in Phuket. With this service, people do not have to drive their own cars into the crowded airport.”

The people behind the service – the sole investor and the managers – have not been named, and are remaining wisely anonymous for now. All Mr Teerayut would say was that the managers are members of the Airport Taxi Cooperative.

The investor has offered to invest in eight to 10 buses for the airport-Kata route, he said.

“We are still looking for other [investors and] operators to run similar systems from the airport to Rawai and Kamala [each also requiring eight to 10 buses],” he added.

GZ20130119163442-sGVkBUauFSJAsked about the potential for conflict between the bus operators and local taxi groups, Mr Teerayut said that airport taxis and limos are not likely to cause any problem but taxis in other part of the island may object.

He said, however, that he did not believe the bus service would have much effect on local taxis because there are still a lot of tourists who prefer to use taxis.

In the end, however, he added, “This is an important public service. Whether [taxi operators] agree or not, we must have it for local people.”

Jaturong Kaewkasi, also of the PLTO, said, “Actually, taxis should be an alternative form of transport, with public transport such as this bus service being the main means.

“We have tried for decades to have basic public transport. Phuket needs it.

“If there is a group protest about this, the people of Phuket must show that they really want to use public transport.

“People and tourists nowadays need more varied forms of transport, not just taxis everywhere.”

Posted in: Kata Beach, Phuket