Slighted free bus service, Koh Larn school may settle for city bicycles

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Left out of a new city program that provides free school bus service to other Pattaya public schools, Koh Larn’s Pattaya School No. 10 may be given bicycles to help kids to class instead.

Principal Yupaporn Pitiworn appealed to Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and education officials at a May 26 meeting at the island school to provide funds that will allow School No. 10 to buy 100 bikes they can let students borrow. It’s the least the city can do, she said, since buses were given to the city’s 10 other schools.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome chairs a budget meeting with Koh Larn Principal Yupaporn Pitiworn and education officials. Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome chairs a budget meeting with Koh Larn Principal Yupaporn Pitiworn and education officials.

Itthiphol asked the principal to survey students to determine specific demand for bicycles and the city would consider the budget request.

School No. 10 teachers and parents indeed feel slighted by the city, which continually provides more funding and support to larger mainland facilities. Yupaporn noted the Koh Larn school, with just 471 students, routinely gets fewer funds for books, computers and supplies. But, she added, students on Koh Larn have just as much trouble and expense getting to class as peers elsewhere and she said she was appalled the city didn’t provide Koh Larn a school bus as it did for others.

Pattaya began free school bus service to 10 area schools last month, using air-conditioned coaches leased for five years. But, in addition to Koh Larn’s gripes, the program has gotten off to a bumpy start elsewhere.

Officials from other Pattaya schools said students were disappointed the buses did not pick them up at home and that many still must take public transport to get to a school-bus stop, thus lessening the economic benefit to families.

Pattaya schools chief Tawatchai Rattanyu explained buses cannot traverse Pattaya’s many tiny sois and that doing so would make it impossible to pick up every child that needs service. He said the current centralized bus stop grid would be reviewed and changed if needed.