KAMPHAENG PHET – 48 Bus passengers, foreign and Thai, were left stranded on the roadside with the driverless bus on Thursday morning after the driver of a Bangkok-Chiang Mai bus abandoned it in mid-journey and walked off in Kamphaeng Phet, complaining he was too tired after working non-stop for several days.
Pol Lt Dokrak Khetman, deputy crime suppression chief at Muang police station, said the driver, identified later as Sakwarit Pawanthao, 40, had parked the vehicle and walked away, leaving the passengers in the dark as to where he had gone, or why.
When he did not return, passengers asked an attendant to go and look for him, but the attendant also disappeared. So a passenger called the police.
When the bus attendant finally returned with the the driver, Mr Sakwarit told police he was upset with his boss for requiring him to work for several days without a break. He was tired and overworked.
Authorities then contacted the bus operator to send another bus to take all the stranded passengers to their destination, the Chiang Mai bus terminal.
Police did not press any charges against him. Mr Sakwarit later drove the empty bus back to Bangkok.
Meanwhile, as news of the incident spread, the state-run Transport Co temporarily suspended its contract with the bus operator, Inthra Tour Co, and ordered an inquiry.
Sanit Promwong, director-general of the Land Transport Department, said the investigation found that the tour bus, had not undergone the annual vehicle examination for the renewal of vehicle tax and registration, which expired on Sept 30, 2016.
There was also no GPS tracking device installed in the bus, as required.
He said the Land Transport Department had decided to remove the vehicle from the registration list and would fine the bus company 50,000 baht.
Mr Sakwarit the bus driver was also fined 5,000 baht and his driving licence suspended for 30 days.
The Transport Co asked Inthra Tour Co to explain the matter, and suspended its operating contract pending an investigation.
Source: Bangkok Post