NCPO: Not enough soldiers in Pattaya to enforce baht bus routes

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Three months after launching a crackdown on baht buses in Pattaya, the army admits it lacks the personnel to enforce its rules on routes and parking.

Three months after launching a crackdown on baht buses in Pattaya, the army admits it lacks the personnel to enforce its rules on routes and parking.
Three months after launching a crackdown on baht buses in Pattaya, the army admits it lacks the personnel to enforce its rules on routes and parking.

Maj. Suwit Laklang of the National Council for Peace and Order Banglamung’s office called “hiccups” the frequent incidents of pickup truck taxis driving and parking where they want after the military’s supposed “D-Day” Feb. 1, and argued that the three-month-old regulations were still “fairly new”.

“Slips were to be expected,” the major said.

The NCPO this winter designated seven routes for baht buses to serve and assigned specific trucks to those routes so that all of them wouldn’t simply bog down Second and Beach roads looking for tourists. However, drivers complained several of those routes weren’t profitable enough for them, so many have simply ignored the army dictate and driven where they want.

That includes Soi Buakhao, where the military outlawed buses altogether, as the street is just one lane each direction.

Suwit said more than 360 baht buses have been fined for violating route and parking rules in the past three months with 40 vehicles impounded for at least three days for those “hiccups”.

Impounded vehicles are kept at Photisampan Temple for three days for a first offense, seven days for a second and 15 days for a third. Those caught four or more times can have their licenses revoked. Fines range from 800-1,000 baht.

However, Suwit admitted, the number of vehicles fined and impounded should be much higher. But the army doesn’t have enough soldiers stationed in Pattaya to enforce its will.

He said that could change, acknowledging there has been resistance from drivers. He said the army will hold another meeting on the issue to plan how to force drivers to comply.