So there I was, on my way to take the missus to work, getting ready to turn onto Soi Buakhao when I end up having to sit for a minute while 4 baht buses try to meander their way through the tight opening that is left when the first one decides to park on the side of the road to wait for customers.
It is not uncommon to be stuck behind a line of baht buses that have all the free road in the world available in front of them. Each of them driving slow and honking and beeping at the same customers trying to get them to come aboard their particular bus instead of their competitor’s.
While I was stuck behind them, I started counting. 1…2…3…4…38! 38 baht buses that I either passed, was stuck behind or saw coming the other way. That does not count the line that I am sure crept up my backside while I was driving.
For those of you that aren’t too familiar with Soi Buakhao, it is a 2-lane road in-between 2nd road and 3rd road. The entire soi is only about 1.7 km long and typically is a pretty busy soi due to all of the convenience stores getting their deliveries daily.
For Soi Buakhao to have just as many (if not more on occasion) baht buses as Beach Road is absolutely ridiculous. Sure, it is all fine and dandy for you walkers that are putting size 12 Goodyear’s to the pavement daily but for the rest of us normal people that drive it is more annoying than a loose hair sticking to your body after your shower.
Keep in mind, the 38 baht buses do not include the caravan of yellow cabs that also drive around in circles all day like they are lost looking for customers. Pattaya complains that they have traffic issues and everyone blames the tour buses when it should be many other buses that fall into the “Can’t drive for sh*t club” as well.
How do any of them make any money? It seems common sense that if the city would restrict a certain amount of baht buses (via registration or license number or whatnot) to certain roads or areas of the city, they would all make more money. Who wants to follow someone else around all day and watch them pick up your customers before you can get to them?
Currently, there is no wait time for a baht bus on Soi Buakhao. You literally can jump on one like a hobo onto a rail car as the train of them passes you by. All other cities around the world have a general “Buses will pass by approximately every 2-minutes” kind of thing going on. Sometimes you even have to wait up to a minute when you are on one of central Pattaya’s main roads which are wider, contain more lanes and can accommodate more baht buses at longer intervals from each other.
City Hall should realize, if you have gotten rid of the Chinese tour buses but you still have traffic issues, you should start troubleshooting what the next traffic factor could be in the equation. I bet you will find that the next in line are yellow cabs, baht buses and mini-buses. Hell, you may even clear up some of the air problems by cutting back on some of them.
There were talks at one point of removing baht buses from Soi Buakhao all-together but they never came to fruition. People used to look at the baht bus situation but it seems they may have forgotten, perhaps they should re-visit the issue. The buses are far more annoying on that particular street than they are helpful.