Delayed bus service might run in June
Plans to provide a microbus service in January never
materialised, owing to reported problems with bus stop authorisation. A second
proposed start-up date of March 18 also came and went without any sighting of a
bus, allegedly because that date fell within the period of the Pattaya
International Music Festival 2005.
Pattaya Mail has been following progress of the promised
service, and went to see the operators, Pattaya Beach Bus Co Ltd, to try and
discover the next projected date.
Mail editor Suchada interviews Suriyon Klindee, operations manager for Pattaya
Beach Bus Co Ltd, on the progress of the public bus service project.
Suriyon Klindee, the company’s operations manager, said
that the proposed trials in March had to be postponed when problems were
encountered in installing the bus stop signs.
Some of them were to be in front of shops, he said, and
problems arose in the residential areas. Pattaya City administration received
many complaints because the signs hid shop fronts or spoiled the scenery.
“Pattaya City notified us to move them away to be
installed in appropriate places. These sign changes caused delays and now we
want to open our service in June,” said Suriyon.
Suriyon says there are no other problems involved. “We
have a 10 percent problem from the signs only. Our plan calls for 219 signs,
which are 80 percent complete. The bus stops were fixed by the Provincial
Transportation Department in co-operation with Pattaya City and Pattaya Beach
Bus Co, and correspond to the standards of the Department of Transportation. It
is expected that all signs will be ready in May. Most of the buses are also
nearly complete. Last week we went to the provincial transportation department
for document registration.”
Suriyon said route details will be made available soon, and
that the service will be started in June “for sure”. The air-conditioned
microbus will be in service first, and the sunroof bus, which has never been
used in Thailand before and about which there is some dispute over the type of
registration required, will follow later.
“We conducted a survey about the microbus three or four
years ago, on the basis that an international tourist location should have full
utilities,” said Suriyon. “There should not be a problem with the baht
buses, because they have been servicing the public and tourists for a long time
already. Pattaya City is growing, and when Bangkok’s new airport comes into
service later this year it will increase the number of tourists to Pattaya by
about 20 percent. The target group for our service will be different.”
Asked about facilities for handicapped people, Suriyon said
that this is being considered a pilot project for all Thailand tourist
locations. “Therefore we were going to install support in two cars for
handicapped people, but the Redemptorist Vocational Centre for the Disabled
thought that this wouldn’t bring any benefit to the handicapped. They thought
that we should install support for all 24 buses, and this has already been
discussed with Pattaya City, which agrees.
“Pattaya City will support a 12-bus budget, and the
company will handle another 12 buses to support the handicapped, including
offering them a special price.”
He said that tickets for tourists and the public still
remain as planned, such as a one-way electronic ticket for 30 baht. A one-day
ticket will be 90 baht, a three-day ticket 180 baht, and 900 baht for a
“Tickets will be distributed through the hotels in
Pattaya, which will be very convenient,” he said. “This month, trial runs
will be held on some routes. We do not expect to have any problems, because we
have continuously discussed performance progress with Pattaya City and the
union baht bus president.”
The company plans to expand service to other tourist
locations, says Suriyon. “Right now, in Samui and Surat Thani province this
kind of public bus service is needed. The Pattaya beach bus project will be the
model for other Thailand tourist locations following the international service
Suriyon said that after surveying the sector of the public that always uses
the baht bus service, the company doesn’t think they will use the microbus
service because of the higher price. “It fits very well with the tourists
though,” he commented.
Complaints voiced over deckchair vendors
Unsightly chair stacking allowing illicit activities to go unnoticed
Complaints were voiced at a meeting in city hall on April 29,
conducted by council member Sanit Boonmarchai, that deckchair and umbrella
concession holders at Pattaya and Jomtien beaches are not following regulations
and that their wares are stacked on the beaches allowing illegal activities to
take place there.
member Sanit Boonmarchai chairs the meeting on deckchair vendor problems.
Sanit said the vendors did not follow the Pattaya City
regulations and remove their deckchairs and umbrellas during the stipulated
times. They kept them piled up and covered with canvas, which is ugly to look at
and allows people to gather behind the stacks for unlawful purposes such as
taking drugs and sexual molestation.
Officials were not strict enough in enforcing regulations,
said Sanit. This allows the concession holders to ignore the by-laws, and this
in turn leads to a negative image for Pattaya.
Sanit also complained about the lack of attendance at the meeting on the part
of relevant officials, even though it is important for everyone concerned in
Pattaya City to try and solve all problems together.
Utilities problems hamper indoor sports project
Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn met with representatives
of the Thailand Sports Authority, the Provincial Electricity Authority, the
Telephone Communication Bureau, the Provincial Waterworks Authority, and
other relevant bodies on May 4 to discuss problems regarding the Pattaya
indoor track-and-field sports construction site on Soi Chaiyapruek 2.
Niran Wattanasartsathorn conducted a meeting about the indoor
track-and-field sports stadium construction. The project is expected to be
finished as planned.
The Thailand Sports Authority is constructing the indoor
stadium for the Asian Indoor Games, which Thailand will host from November
12-19. Chino-Thai Engineering and Construction Public Co Ltd was hired to
start on May 7, 2004 and finish by July 30, 2005, a total of 450
construction days. With just a few months left, the contractor has finished
only 41.56 percent of the construction.
After verifying with the Sports Authority the
requirements of the utility system, including electricity, water supply and
telephones, the contractor discovered that he needed an additional budget to
expand the utility connection system with Pattaya City. It had been omitted
from the construction budget, and there were also some problems over the
land required for the additional construction.
Mayor Niran said that they should not have any problems because Pattaya
City has always kept in touch with the associated departments. Regarding the
budget and land, the administration will ask the provincial executive in
Chonburi for co-operation to buy additional land. The Sports Authority had
asked about water drainage, and the mayor said the water will be allowed to
drain into the pond beside Pattaya public park. However, the drained water
should only be rainwater or wastewater from the treatment plant.
Admin skills upgrade for headmen
Banglamung district chief Worawit Saisupatpol led a
meeting on May 2 at the Grand Sole Hotel Pattaya designed to help village
headmen upgrade their administrative skills. The session had been organised
by the department of provincial administration and the local executive
bureau. Representatives of relevant local government departments also
chiefs and headmen attend a meeting to help upgrade their administrative
The meeting discussed the parameters at which the village
chiefs and headmen could operate, setting out their rights and duties so
that they could act efficiently and effectively. Responsibilities towards
peace and safety in the villages was another subject, emphasising ways of
conduct for the leaders and their assistants.
Cooperation is needed for unity and harmony in the villages, the meeting
heard, with more interaction with the public.
Deputy mayor’s resignation has nothing to do with politics, says Mayor Niran
Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn has declared that the rumours
Deputy Mayor Pattana Boonsawat’s resignation was the result of in-house
political fighting were untrue, and that his reasons were more of a personal
Niran said that Pattana had presented his resignation letter
to the mayor’s secretary on April 29. Pattana, he said, had spoke of
resigning after being appointed national windsurfing coach, saying that he
wanted to support his (Pattana’s) son in training for international
windsurfing events. Pattana believed that both of these would interfere with
his duties as deputy mayor of Pattaya.
Mayor Pattana Boonsawat is resigning to spend more time looking after the
national windsurfing team.
“Pattana has performed his duties well and for the benefit
of the city and its residents. His resignation letter has yet to be approved
and I have sought to speak with Pattana on the issue, which should be concluded
within the next one to two weeks,” Niran told reporters.
The mayor said Pattana’s reasons for resigning were valid,
saying that his devotion and hard work towards windsurfing and looking after
the national team were Pattana’s first priorities, in order to develop and
prepare athletes for regional and international competition.
“In a larger picture, he (Pattana) is working to boost the
profile of Thai athletes,” said Niran.
The mayor also stated that Pattana’s son, Ake Boonsawat,
is developing more skills, and focusing more attention on the sport of
windsurfing to the point of leaving school to spend his time training. Pattana
wants to spend time with his son before heading off to Europe for training and
“As for Pattana’s duties as deputy mayor, he would
rather not allow those to fall by the wayside and has decided to resign from
his position,” added Niran.
Other rumours and stories have come forth from city hall
with claims that Pattana has had no time to carry out his duties as deputy
mayor, focusing only on his family and sport, leaving his duties unattended and
lacking completion. Allegations that these rumours also created a rift with
Pattana, causing him to resign, have been rife.
In response, Niran said, “There has been some dissent
inside city hall but I do not believe it is the main reason behind the
The mayor still wants Pattana to continue in his position as deputy mayor
but the results of further discussions will reveal the final outcome.
Traffic snarl-ups frustrate visitors on Labour Day
With Labour Day falling on a Sunday this year, and Monday
being a holiday in compensation, crowds of people took advantage of the
three-day holiday to visit Chonburi, with Pattaya as the favourite
jams in Pattaya were a major problem over Labour Day weekend.
Long traffic queues resulted, with Beach Road, where the
underground pipe laying project has been delayed and where open workings and
potholes cause traffic problems on a daily basis, was the scene of
particularly bad gridlocks. Many visitors by-passed the central Pattaya area
and went on to other beaches such as Jomtien and Dongtan.
Jams built up along Jomtien Beach, and along Sukhumvit Road, with 3km long
queues of vehicles being reported in some places. Traffic police worked hard
to keep the cars on the move.
Man killed in crane collapse
A crane collapsed and killed a workman on May 3 at a
site on Pattaya Second Road, opposite the Hard Rock Hotel.
Police arriving at the scene found a yellow crane with
the name Ch. Crane. The crane’s jib, which when fully extended was the
height of a 10-storey building, had broken in half. One piece had stuck in
a tree while the other had fallen to the ground, damaging a six-wheel Isuzu
and commercial premises. One man, Saengpetch Tansing, age 39, was injured.
He was rushed to Pattaya Memorial Hospital, where he was found to have
fractures to his spleen and ribs. Despite the attention of the medical
team, they could not save his life.
crane jib broke in half causing one death and damage to three commercial
Police investigations revealed that an employer, known
only as Yai Pa from Sriracha, had ordered the illegal cutting down of two
para rubber trees for the price of 10,000 baht. The trees are protected.
The contractor rented a crane from the Ch. Crane Transport Company for the
price of 8,000 baht to cut the trees, which were 10 storeys high with 60cm
One witness stated that the crane driver said before
starting his work that he didn’t have familiarity with this crane, but
work continued. The crane could not support the tree because of the heavy
weight. The jib broke and fell, along with the basket containing
Saengpetch, fatally injuring him. The crane operator fled the scene.
The commercial premises that were damaged were Tik Tailor’s and two
rooms of the Phathomchai Laundry. Somporn Sakayang, owner of the building,
said he was not yet able to estimate the cost of the damage.
as bus overturns in ditch
A bus travelling from Sattahip to Chonburi overturned into
the central ditch near the U-turn at Kled Kaew School on Sukhumvit Road,
injuring many of the passengers on board.
Police rushed to the scene with officials from the
Rotjanathammasatarn Foundation and found the bus lying at an angle across the
drainage channel. Seven passengers where transferred to Queen Sirikit Hospital
Also hospitalised was the bus driver, 27-year old Sommai
Puangsuk. Some were detained for X-rays, while others received first aid
treatment and went home.
Police interviewed the driver of another bus, Anek
Watcharasil, age 38, an employee of the Chuanchom Partnership. He admitted that
he had cut up the bus and caused the accident. He said he was hired to transport
students from Bangkok to the Chumpol Naval School, and that he had suddenly
swerved right for the U-turn when he saw that he had passed the entrance,
causing the first vehicle to plunge into the ditch and overturn.
3 injured as car overturns in ditch
Rotjanathammasatarn Foundation officials responding to a
call that a blue Toyota Corona had turned over in the central drainage
channel at the 164-165Km point on Sukhumvit Road discovered that three
people in the car had been seriously injured. Witnesses said the vehicle had
gone out of control, hitting a palm tree before rolling over into the ditch.
Villagers and foundation officers administered first aid
before transferring the injured to Queen Sirikit Hospital. They were Sombun
Thong-U-Dorn, 22, who was later transferred to the Uanasangworn Temple
Hospital at Huay Yai; a soldier named Rung Chamnarnwad, 22, who had cuts to
his face and a broken leg; and Miss Pornphan Chantachuay, 26, a Lao
national, whose right leg was broken. Pornphan declined treatment at the
Queen Sirikit Hospital and was transferred Sattahip Hospital.
Pornphan had been sitting in the front seat of the
vehicle. She said they had pulled out from Sattahip Market and intended to
go to Bangkok. They were driving at speed and lost control when they arrived
at Ban Nernsamakki. The car swerved near an electricity post, went into the
central channel and collided with a palm tree before flipping over.
Man drowns in reservoir
Prasert Yoochang, age 34, drowned at the Mabprachan
reservoir in Nongprue after he and two friends went to help three children
who were playing 100 metres away from the shore of the reservoir, and who
they thought might get into difficulties. Prasert succumbed to cramp whilst
on the way out, and drowned. His two friends brought the children to shore,
but when they didn’t see Prasert they went looking for him, and discovered
his lifeless body.
Tourist police arrest
Austrian for stealing motorcycle
Tourist police arrested Ernst Kristen Conner, a 55-year
old Austrian citizen, at the Thai-Fun apartment building on Soi Kor Pai,
charging him with stealing a motorcycle from Na-Jomtien sub-district in
Sattahip last December. Conner, who has been unable to present a passport,
denies the offence. His case has been transferred to the Sattahip police.
in gambling bust
Police on April 30 raided the premises behind a massage
parlour in North Pattaya after receiving a tip-off that the staff were
always gambling. Eight women and two men were arrested. Bunthan Chuaysi, age
42, admitted to being the banker in the hi-low game.
Most of the gamblers were employees of the Thai
traditional massage shop and lived in the same area. The police took them to
the station for booking.
In a different swoop, police also arrested two women
illegally playing cards in front of a room on Soi 17 in South Pattaya.
Drugs hidden in icebox
A drug dealer who had hidden his wares inside a blue
icebox that he threw away by the roadside when police pursued him, was
arrested on April 29 on Sukhumvit Road, near South Pattaya.
The box was found to contain 230 orange ya ba tablets.
Seng Intae, 44, was taken in for questioning and found to have traces of
illegal narcotics in his urine. Seng denied all charges. He was charged with
possession of ya ba for consumption and distribution.
Ya ba dealer faces extra
charge for bribery
A ya ba dealer ensnared by police in a sting operation
found himself facing an extra charge when he tried to bribe officers to set
Prathum Phookang, 42, was arrested in the car park of the
Honey Inn Hotel in South Pattaya after being lured there by a police agent
on the pretext of buying drugs. Prathum tried to negotiate his freedom with
a bribe of 15,000 baht. He arranged for his partner, 32-year old Mrs Butsaba
Khamphong, to take the sum to Pattaya police station. Police, however,
photographed the money as evidence before charging Prathum with drug
possession for distribution, plus attempting to bribe an officer.
Fake goods vendors nabbed
Police on April 30 arrested five vendors at Thepprasit
Market after discovering that fake copyrighted products were being sold,
including jeans, hats, leather jackets, sunglasses, handbags, CDs and
counterfeit Harley Davidson products.
The vendors were named as Miss Siriporn Saemathong (21),
Joradet Chantho (32), Thikhamporn Buncharoen (26), Anuwat Pinthongphan (25)
and Sompong Thamsiri (30). They were charged with distribution of imitation
goods and transferred to the police station.
2 women injured in
Officers from Rotjanathammasatarn Foundation received a
report that two women had been injured in a motorcycle accident on Sukhumvit
Road, at the Km 2 Sattahip-Rayong point.
Motorcycle passenger Chan Changsri, 58, and her daughter,
Manida Tasanai, 31, the driver of a grey Honda Wave, were transferred to
Queen Sirikit Hospital.
They told investigators they were driving along Sukhumvit
Road after buying a large quantity of food and beverages when a blue Honda
motorcycle ran into the back of them. The other driver fled into the night.
Police arriving at the scene found foodstuffs scattered
across the road. They took the blue motorcycle for inspection and said they
will contact the owner to pay for the medical fees of the two women.
Editorial: Day of Peace
Visaka Bucha Day this year falls on May 22. Apart from
being an important day for Buddhists, the United Nations has, since 1999,
also recognised this day as the International Day of Peace.
This year in Thailand sees activities running from May
16-22, with many initiated by the ministry of culture. Merit making and
religious ceremonies have been organised to bring further awareness of the
importance of this day in the Buddhist faith, and there will be sermons from
monks urging the need for a peaceful society.
Visaka Bucha Day celebrations have been in place since
the reign of King Vajiravudh, Rama VI, when the King encouraged the Thai
nation to adhere to and promote the teachings of the Lord Buddha as an
important part of daily life. He set Visaka Bucha Day for visiting the
temple, where sermons were taught in Pali, the ancient language of the
Buddhist scriptures. In 1986 HRH Crown Princess Sirindhorn gave her
blessings and patronage to the department of arts to create special
activities on Visaka Bucha Day.
Many people say that nowadays, the Visaka Bucha Day
celebrations have dwindled somewhat in importance, because most people focus
on other festivals. But in reality the celebration of this day is a most
important part of the Buddhist faith because it brings about feelings of
peace and harmony among those who deeply respect the religion and philosophy
of Buddhism. In following the teachings of the Buddha, life flows peacefully
and in an orderly manner without conflict arising from desire.
There is so much unrest in the world, and this should be
in our minds on May 22. Through the Buddhist philosophy we can achieve and
preserve peace. Specifically in Thailand, as the country continues to face
problems in the troubled South, we must join hands to bring about peace. Our
minds should be set against the escalating violence, for there are those who
would not profit from peace and harmony. Such people are against those who
desire the calm and serenity of Visaka Bucha Day.
The Dalai Lama once said: “The search for peace on
earth and to bring about change must begin from within each of us. It is a
difficult task. We must lead by example. Wherever I am I will always support
those people, whatever their profession, nationality, who seek peace within.
I believe that love, compassion and selflessness are the paths that lead to
peace and harmony...”
BAY WATCH: Beach Road delays a danger to public
Complaints are growing from residents and tourists about the state of
Beach Road because of the delay in completing the underground pipe laying
project. A Pattaya Mail team went to one of the worst areas, at the
junction with Soi 6, where they found that the road surface is splitting and
potholes appearing because of the unfinished construction work. The
contractors have attempted to cover the holes with iron plates, but regular
users of this area say there are often accidents because the plate isn’t
flush with the road surface, and because the metal becomes slippery during
rainfall. It is also extremely unsightly for a prime tourist destination
like Pattaya. Residents are urging the authorities to hurry up and complete
the project, because Pattaya should be safe for visitors and have an image
in keeping with its world-class tourism destination.