It would seem that the Thai government has grown tired of public transport operators, if their actions the past few weeks are of any indication. No more than two weeks ago, on the 17th of February, did the military announce, or rather, re-announce the laws that state that the Pattaya baht buses will follow their designated routes without deviation. The Thai government backs this repeated announcement with heavier punishments, such as heavier fines and impoundment, and stringent supervision.
The announcements were made in response to the traffic issues in places such as Soi Buakhao, which have been known for their extremely congested traffic conditions. Conditions in these areas will improve, but with the caveat of the Pattaya “anywhere” easy transport coming to an end. The routes ensure that a 5 star boutique hotel in Sukhumvit is more accessible, but the destinations located in more narrow roads will be affected.
There was some complaint from both locals and tourists, expectedly. There have been several letters and complaints made towards the government and other parties willing to listen. Among the notable number of complaints is the fact that Thailand temperature averages at around 30C, and that the sidewalks are ill-fit for pedestrians. Pedestrians, it would seem, are not welcoming the idea of the transport system being changed so drastically. With these changes, travelling towards certain places are made troublesome, whilst some places, such as Naklua and that 5 star boutique hotel in Sukhumvit, and its surrounding areas remain unaffected.
Having seen their fellow drivers fined and their vehicles impounded temporarily, not to mention the military enforcement of these new rules, drivers are now more welcoming to the idea of designated routes.
The routes were set by the Banglamung sect of Thailand’s National Council for Peace and Order, announcing four additional routes to add to the official three service lines, bringing the number up to seven. The military has explicitly stated, following the announcement of the new routes, that the buses are forbidden from running any routes not officially designated, and are seeking the cooperation of people in enforcing the routes, asking people to report anyone operating in off-route areas.
The new routes are as follows:
- Route 4
- Bali Hai Pier to the Banglamung District Office, passing through Third Road, Soi Photisan and Naklua Road. This route has a return trip.
- Route 5
- Baan Charoen Community to Thappraya Rd., through Sukhumvit, Naklua Rd., Beach Rd., South Rd. and Pratamnak before circling around through Thepprasit and Sukhumvit then to Thappraya and Jomtien Beach Rd. Route ends at Soi Chaiyapruek and returns.
- Route 6
- From South Road, down the length of Sukhumvit to Naklua, then to North Road, Beach Road, then South Road before returning to Sukhumvit.
- Route 7
- Sukhumvit, North Road, via Beach Road, then South Road, Thappraya and Jomtien Beach, before turning on Soi Chaiyapruek and proceeding to Sukhumvit proper and Central Road, before stopping at Second Road.