Boat vendors bemoan lack of loading docks

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Speedboat operators are asking authorities to come up with a new plan to load and unload passengers after the military banned vendors from Pattaya Beach before providing them adequate space at Bali Hai Pier.

Authorities told boat owners they could only take on or let off passengers on floating docks at Bali Hai.
Authorities told boat owners they could only take on or let off passengers on floating docks at Bali Hai.

Vendors complained Nov. 28 that, like so much about the army’s plan to evict boat owners from Bali Hai and demolish the boat ramp there, the latest move to halt beach boardings wasn’t thought through completely.

Authorities told boat owners they could only take on or let off passengers on floating docks at Bali Hai, but only provided four of the big buoys, far short of the number needed to handle the 270 boats currently operating between Pattaya and Koh Larn.

Not only are there not enough floating docks, operators said, elderly tourists have trouble using them and Chinese tourists staying along Beach Road would find it more convenient to continue to board their Koh Larn ferries on the sand.

The crush on boarding space, if left as is, only is set to get worse. The Marine Department has so far only approved 10 of 26 boat operators to provide service to Koh Larn. Once the others are approved, following upgrades to equipment and safety procedures, the demand for space will increase.