On Friday December 20th 2013 at Phuket’s Metropol Hotel, Director of Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning – Jula Sukmanop chaired the first comprehensive meeting of a feasibility study and the design of new train route for Surat Thani – Pang Nga – Phuket. Also taking part in the meeting were Phuket Governor – Maitri Inthusut, PPAO Chief Executive – Paiboon Upattising, PPAO Council Members – Theera Jiasakul and Prawat Pimanprom, representatives from various government sectors, think tank leaders, those who may be affected by the project, the people’s representatives and the press. There were a total of 120 participants at the meeting.
The rail project follows the basic infrastructure policy – especially in the railway system – set by the government on March 20th, and October 22nd 2012. As a result, the Transport Ministry is to be responsible for operations of basic transport systems appropriated to the growing tourist industry in the southern region.
The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning mapped the project to construct a rail system, linking provinces in the Gulf of Thailand to those on the Andaman Sea. It was concluded that not only would the project solve regional transport challenges, but also help ease Phuket’s traffic gridlock. To follow up the project, the office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning has appointed Index International Group Co Ltd as project consultant who will conduct a study based on:
• Transport potential between the two coasts for general public and tourists
• Development of a new standard of service for public transport
• Meeting the challenge of the growing tourist industry
• Meeting the challenge of Phuket’s traffic problems. The feasibility study will comprise of two areas – the rail system and Phuket public transport. Scope of the rail system
• Feasibility study and design
• Consequences the project will have on the environment in the areas of the route starting from Ban Tung Po train station – Pang Nga – Phuket
• Consequences the project will have on the environment in the areas of the route starting from Amphoe Don – Surat Thani
• Feasibility study to link the rail route to Krabi Airport
• Scope of public transport in Phuket
• Make a feasibility study, design, and review consequences on the environment of a public transport system from Phuket International Airport to Chalong Circle
The period set for the studies is set for 14 months, during which time the public will have access to full information. This is so that the eventual outcome will be beneficial to the communities and all concerned. There will also be full measures to deal with affected areas and families. This is the first of three meetings planned to give the public detailed information of the projects and also to welcome opinions from participants.