Pattaya is cracking down on Koh Larn speedboat services after greedy operators overloaded boats and stranded passengers on the tourist island.
Komkrit Polwichid, head of the Pattaya Peace and Stability Department, chaired an emergency June 15 meeting about the tour boat chaos at Bali Hai Pier which has been allowed to fester amid non-existent regulatory enforcement during the coronavirus pandemic.
Since Koh Larn Coral Island reopened last week, social media has been riddled with critical posts about avaricious speedboat drivers who are undercutting each other to get Thai tourists.
A common tactic has been to sell round-trips voyages at cut-throat prices, but tourists reported that the drivers would leave them on the island, not returning to take them back to Pattaya.
Others reported that the speedboats were being unsafely overloaded and no one from the city or Marine Department was checking passenger loads.
Komkrit said Pattaya will now sell mooring licenses and regulate how many speedboats can serve Bali Hai Pier. Applications must be submitted by June 18 and then the city will decide who gets to operate at the pier.
Operators denied access to the pier will likely return illegally to Pattaya Beach where no one will monitor what they charge or promise tourists nor how many people they pack onboard.
Boat service from the beach is prohibited, but, again, depends on Pattaya officials to actually enforce the law.