What are your impressions of public transport in Pakxong?

Pakxong district in Champassak province is known for its coffee farms and is much touted as a tourist destination but transport is inefficient and unreliable and not many tourists use public transport. Vientiane Times decided to check things out and asked some locals how they got around.

 

Mr Ngair, a resident of Phou-Aoy village, Pakxong district: I don’t often go to other districts but I sometimes go to Pakxe because it’s the provincial capital and the biggest town near here. Local people are used to the limited transport options but we don’t like it. We have three choices. We can use our own vehicle or take a public bus which costs more and we can never be sure where it will arrive because there are several different bus companies. The third option is to take a songtheo but this means having to wait a long time for one to leave and we never know when it will depart.

Mr Khan Thitthavong, Pakxong district: I don’t have to wait long to leave my village because from my house I can easily get to the main road. I can take any songtheo that’s passing or get a bus. But if I get on a songtheo I might not have a seat and the bus charges 10,000 kip more. I don’t mind if people take a lot of stuff with them on the bus because I do too and there’s no other way we can carry our things.

Mr Bounthan Leuchit, Pakxong district: I know that if I get a songtheo I’ll have to wait a long time before it leaves the station because the driver won’t go until it’s full. I wait outside because I don’t want to hang around for too long, so that means I have to sit on the top. I don’t think it’s dangerous and I like it so long as they don’t pile too many things on the roof top. And it’s better than being jammed inside with a lot of other people.

Mr Thone, Pakxong district: I would like it if songtheos limited the number of passengers they carry because then there wouldn’t be so much baggage, which makes it difficult for people to get out. When I ask the driver what time the songtheo will leave, they say in 30 minutes or one hour but that’s never true. Sometimes they make detours to pick up passengers which means the journey takes longer. If we’re going to expect more tourists here, we need a more efficient system of public transport.

Mr Khamsone, a resident of Vientiane: I used to complain about public transport in Vientiane and some other places but now I realise things are even worse in Pakxong. In the past I’ve travelled on VIP buses but it’s hard to do that here as you can only buy a ticket to go to another province. Or you have to rent a minibus which is very expensive. I took a songtheo from Daoheuang market in Pakxe to Paksong. They said it would take one hour. I arrived at the songtheo station early, maybe around 6am but I had to wait until after 9am before the vehicle left. They don’t have an organised queue and they leave only when they have enough passengers. I saw them fighting to get passengers. I think they should be better organised. And I didn’t like sitting among sacks containing live chickens and pigs. It’s a crazy mess.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update November 28, 2018)


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