The state-run Transport Company is planning a major makeover of its bus services to cut costs and to be able to compete with low-cost airlines which have increasingly attracted bus passengers.
A well-informed source said that the main concept of this major overhaul is to provide services which meet the digital-age lifestyles of passengers at reasonable costs which are competitive with low-cost airlines.
While low-cost airlines enable passengers to arrive at their destinations faster than buses, they lack other basic facilities such as onboard free snacks and drinks, the source pointed out, adding that the Transport Company will complement its speed disadvantage with other conveniences that are not available in low-cost airlines.
Under the 4-year restructural plan, the source said that the Transport Company will rent a fleet of 400 new buses which will be equipped all kinds of conveniences to meet the modern lifestyle of consumers such as on-board wi-fi, battery recharging ports, reclining seats with automatic massaging system.
Meanwhile, safety will be enhanced with the installation of a safety sytem that will restrict every driver to four-hour driving at an interval. The ignition key cannot start the engine after 4-hour drive unless the bus has to stop for a while, said the source.
The new modern bus will be put into service for trial in four main routes namely Bangkok-Mae Sot, Bangkok-Phuket, Bangkok-Nakhon Phanom and Bangkok-Chiang Mai with two buses for each route initially.
Besides service makeover, the source said the bus agency plans to commercialise its prime land plots such as the Ekamai bus terminal which will be relocated to Bang Na and the land plot developed for commercial purposes.
The company is not expected to perform well this year compared to last year’s due to a 30 percent drop in passengers. But it expects a rebound in revenues after a major service makeover, said the source.