People often ask me how the public transport works in Phuket and why the buses drive so slowly. It’s not always easy to explain but I think this true story as told to me and recounted, almost verbatim, should give anyone a fairly good insight. It’s a lovely story and I can vouch for its authenticity.
“I want to tell you about my journey from Naiharn to Phuket Town, which I took on one of the public transport buses, this morning.
I started my journey outside the mosque before Chalong on Viset Road. I thought it would be a good idea to get a motorbike lift from Viset Road all the way to Naiharn Beach to make sure I had a seat when the bus started its journey at the terminus there because I know how full they can get. The motorbike driver was amused that I should want to travel about 8kms in the opposite direction to the one I was going in in order to catch the bus which came right past where I was standing. But there was method in my madness as you will see.
I was the only passenger at the start of the journey, at Naiharn Beach, which was great. But before we reached Rawai the driver had picked up so many people that the two rows of seats were full. So he stopped in Rawai, disappeared for a few minutes and came back with a third long seat he found somewhere and put it in between the two full rows.
Before we reached my original starting point, outside the mosque, the third seat was full and we had to pass many people waiting on the road because no one could get inside.
Imagine if I had waited for the bus at the mosque; there would not have been any room for me!!!.
Now it gets even better. A few people got off at Chalong Circle, so, the driver drove all the way back to pick up the people he passed in Viset Road just to make his bus full again!!!
In the time it took me to get home I could have walked quicker and had lunch on the way.”
Now here’s an idea for the bus drivers. If you want a full bus at all times run a shuttle service from one stop to another covering about 5kms maximum. All the drivers operate like relay runners zipping up and down the road. But instead of passing the baton to each other they pass passengers.