Thursday, 14 September 2017
UK and Thailand missing the bus?
Another excellent report by TDRI think-tank on Bangkok buses and bus reform in Thaialnd suggests both nations are missing the bus:
Khun Nichamon and Pii cite improvements in regulation and bus specification for example.
I've written previously on the potential for UK as a bus supplier to Thailand, indeed a UK strategic template - the London doubledecker bus as iconic as the Model T Ford or E-type Jaguar:
And the recent UK trade deal with Mexico - as well as hundreds of buses provided everywhere from Jamaica to Hong Kong the perfect example of the possibilities.
Certainly the revitalised UK car industry as well as bus and train industries are a shining light of UK industry at the moment.
Factories from Nissan in Sunderland as part of the Northern Powerhouse with Dennis buses and Bombardier trains in Derby and Midlands Engine and Port Talbot steel and Ford sites retooling for growth.
On that basis alone it's to be hoped that UK hasn't missed the bus, Brexit or no Brexit.
While the same must be said for Thailand with the potential in not just import-export jobs, and vehicle assembly, but also Unipart of the Midlands Engine, one of the world's largest auto-parts group, and peripheral industries such as conventions and expos: MICE worth 0.58% to Thai economy in general and 9.4% to the tourism economy in particular.
And it wouldn't be funny at all if Sweet Joke's role as the new Chief of Thai Police Tourism Board didn't instigate more detailed UK-Thai police and tourism cooperation.
And, to be blunt, the volume of Mexico buses - and Caribbean Resilience bus repairs - makes it all the easier for Thailand to hop on board the UK manufacturing process now.
And why shouldn't Bangkok's citizens enjoy the same aircon comfort and wifi, real-time website updates, and safety, as the Great British Bus - and indeed Tube and Train - public?
UK as a Road Safety Superpower applies all the more to the safety of UK buses and trains. Shouldn't Bangkok buses kick-start wider UK-Thailand cooperation on road safety?
Why would Britain not want to ensure tech-transfer as well as customer service training too?
What is preventing Thailand and UK from exploiting the possibilities of a trade deal on Bangkok buses?
UK bus workers wouldn't thank anyone for reduced employment possibilities. While the UK and German and USA investments in the UK car industry would no doubt be buoyed by extra activity.
And Bangkok's citizens wouldn't thank anyone for polluting buses or being left standing in the rain.
There's no reason either why the Eurocopter helicopter industry and new UK-Japan helicopter defence deals shouldn't be viable for Thailand's Resilience activity.
Bangkok's commuters might not enjoy standing in the rain waiting for a bus - a shelter for every busstop is one minor detail of my politics policies here in East Kent - and even less so stood in a typhoon waiting for a SAR helicopter or urban air ambulance.
And even worse if stranded British tourists are exercising their Dunkirk spirit and drinking the hotel bar dry.
And how embarrassing if Thailand's UN peacekeeping troops in South Sudan were the only ones to enjoy riding on a Great British Bus with 200 supplied to Sudan?
They might even be the first to enjoy the Cape2Cairo rail link with the Royal Engineers scoping out the Nairobi in Kenya missing link through Sudan to Egypt's Aswan dam. Thailand's Moslems might enjoy easier links to Jeddah and Mecca too.
Kent has no automotive or bus industry - a few auto parts suppliers and Hitachi,l so can help shepherd the process through to the relevant UK regions and organisations.
So, why not a UK trade conference under the auspices of DIT, say a day in London at the London Transport Museum with the Bus and tube companies, and City Hall with dynamic London Mayor Khan? Mayor Khan from a bus driving family.
With an open top bus tour of London of course.
A day or two touring UK factory sites to see the manufacturing process in detail.
And then a day's larger technical conference at the Margate Winter Gardens venue given the latest developments at this week's Frankfurt Car Show.
And a day's concrete conclusions seminar at the smaller Canterbury Cathedral Centre to deliver action rather than a talking shop?
A day or so's shopping and sightseeing in London would allow for a full and practical itinerary.
The exercise could then be repeated 3 months later in Bangkok, after email and document exchanges, to tighten up the activity and deliver a detailed MOU.
And why not TDRI as the steering group with British Chamber of Commerce and UK Embassy in BKK and Asia House in London?
Surely a practical step forward now is needed rather than UK and Thailand missing the bus?
Time for Change