Agents welcome plans for Phuket rail

AGENCIES in Thailand have welcomed plans by the government to introduce a light rail system in the holiday island of Phuket.

The planned network will stretch 60 km, starting from Phuket International Airport in the north down to Chalong Circle intersection in the south. It will be operated by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand.

“For the tourism business, it provides support for the individual traveller,” said Wilawan Chiammanasombut, secretary southern chapter, Thai Hotels Association.

She added: “It can also help alleviate the problem of overcharging taxis,” but pointed out that some travellers will still prefer to use taxis and tuk-tuks to get to their destinations.

Pankaj Sawhney, country head Thailand and IndoChina, Red Apple Travel, hopes it will lead to improved ground infrastructure countrywide as a means to facilitate greater arrivals. “Thailand needs this kind of transportation not only in Phuket but in other cities as well,” he said.

Claudio F. Kellenberger, managing director Thailand, Asian Trails, said he supports “any initiative to ease traffic congestions.” His company moves roughly 50,000 tourists a year through Phuket, sometimes taking more than two hours to do so, compared to requiring 45 minutes five years ago.

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