AS a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has now been signed to construct a bridge linking Koh Samui to Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Khanom district, local residents are urging that this be quickly built to boost tourism, Naewna newspaper said today (August 24).
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob earlier signed the MoU on integration of the road network between the Highways and Rural Roads departments and the Expressway Authority of Thailand with the latter to be the project operator.
All Koh Samui residents are closely monitoring the Koh Samui-Khanom bridge project because ferry fares are high with the operators adjusting them as required.
This has led to fewer Thai tourists coming to the island and both big and small business operators are affected. Food vendors at Ban Nathon pier urged the government to quickly build it for the future of tourism on the island.
Mrs. Thanaradee Boonyiam, who sells grilled squid, said the one-way ferry ticket is now 170 baht and round trip 340 baht while cars are charged 550 baht each which is very expensive.
The addition of the steep transport cost has led to prices of all products increasing accordingly.
Mrs. Dujdao Chamnankit, a dessert seller, said it takes a long time to cross to the mainland by ferry and a bridge would make travelling more convenient and will lead to more Thai and foreign tourists coming to the island.
Mrs. Pracheep Anukul, a fruit seller, said there is only one way to bring a car to Koh Samui and that is by ferry and a hike of the fares had led to fewer Thais holidaying here and for this reason the bridge is urgently needed.
An artist’s rendering of the Koh Samui-Khanom bridge, a map showing the link to the mainland and the vendors call on the government to speed up this project. Photos: Naewna