The most controversial subject of discussion at the first meeting of the new Pattaya City Council was the intention to replace the Baht Buses with air-conditioned Micro-buses on set routes.
The most controversial subject of discussion at the first meeting of the new Pattaya City Council was the intention to replace the Baht Buses with air-conditioned Micro-buses on set routes. These have recently come into service in Bangkok. The intention is to start with 5 buses, each of which cost 1.2 million Baht. The move is strongly opposed in certain quarters.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Association of British Travel Agents, Baht Buses are the single most frequent source of complaint from tourists visiting Pattaya.
Whilst not generally known, for reasons which became obvious from the survey conducted, the Micro-buses have been in operated experimentally during June and July.
At a recent meeting at the Pattaya City Hall, chaired by Governor Yuvarat Kamolvej and attended by Pattaya City manager, Boonlert Rojanalak and 62 other members the results of the experiments on 15 June and 15 July were revealed. The consensus was that:
• The buses were not able to stick to given routes.
• Drivers did not stop at the bus-stops to take on passengers.
• The buses were not recognised by the public.
In the second experiment the number of buses were reduced but still appeared to be adequate for passenger demand. Complaints received from the public were:
• The fare was too high if they did not drop of at places of choice
• The Micro-bus sign was very obscure and unrecognisable.
Steps are being taken to correct these deficiencies.
A Pattaya Mail survey of the tourist-in-the-street, asked for reactions to the proposed move, elicited the following comments:
• “To go? Hurrah!”
• “I like the Baht buses, if only they were less rude and did not overcharge”
• “About time, but I hope that the Micro-buses drivers will not be like those in Bangkok.”
“Pattaya is so spread out, I wonder whether they will have enough routes covered?”
• “What happens after midnight? that’s when I need a bus!”