Phuket’s traffic crisis: over 500,000 vehicles clog the island’s roadsLegacy

The Thai holiday resort of Phuket is grappling with a serious traffic problem. Senate Transportation Commission Chairman, General Yodyut Bunyathikarn, was informed on his recent visit to the island that over half a million vehicles are congesting the roads.

Gen. Yodyut’s two-day visit aimed to understand the issues and challenges in implementing transportation and infrastructure projects in Phuket.

During a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall, Gen. Yodyut was updated on the advancement of six primary road development projects. His role extends beyond the Senate Transportation Commission as he also heads the Board of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), the organization overseeing numerous projects.

The purpose of Gen Yodyut’s visit was to gather first-hand information regarding the hindrances in executing transportation projects in Phuket. This information would be instrumental in expediting various projects, thereby enabling the government to deliver tangible solutions to the transportation woes of Phuket.

Phuket’s Vice Governor, Sattha Thongkham, presented an overview of the island’s booming tourism industry. He pointed out that in 2023, Phuket’s economy ranked first in Southern Thailand and second in the country, after Bangkok.

The tourism sector in 2023 generated over 330 billion baht (US$9 billion), marking a 98.21% increase from 2022. Phuket welcomed more than 10 million tourists in 2023, a 109.61% surge over the previous year, reported The Phuket News.

However, this tourism growth also posed significant challenges. The influx of tourists from various countries, while generating income for Phuket, has also led to major issues like inadequate public transportation infrastructure and heavy traffic. Vice Governor Sattha emphasized the urgent need to address these problems.

He highlighted that only one main road, Route 402 (Thepkrasattri Road), currently serves the province’s traffic, and is also used by vehicles from other provinces. Despite Phuket’s civil registration population standing at 423,599, the presence of a large number of non-registered individuals on the island has resulted in a hidden population of over 1.25 million. The number of cars and motorbikes registered in Phuket alone is a staggering 503,504.

Vice Governor Sattha summed up the issue by stating that Phuket lacks a sufficient and comprehensive public transportation system to serve both tourists and locals. Six projects are currently in the pipeline to alleviate the island’s traffic problems.

Gen Yodyut’s inspection tour of Phuket’s traffic issues is slated to continue. It remains unclear whether he will be visiting Bang Tao in Cherng Talay, an area that has recently been grappling with persistent traffic congestion.

The story Phuket’s traffic crisis: over 500,000 vehicles clog the island’s roads as seen on Thaiger News.

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Author: Mitch Connor