The Skytrain Extensions News 2006-2009
BTS Taksin extension test runs - March 29, 2009
Chris writes: I noticed they finally started testing trains on the BTS Taksin extension on Sunday, March 29, 2009.
Above: Empty viaduct for the Taksin Skytrain extension. The Skytrain extension has been delayed since 2001.
Above: April 28, 2007 - Updated photo of the end of the Taksin line showing the installed tracks going over the river.
Phahoyothin Skytrain extension! - November 19, 2007
Finally, after many years, plans are firming up for the long-delayed Phahoyothin Skytrain extension. Here is a translation from Prachachat Thurakij of the latest news.
Extra station to be built on Onnuj line - Bangkok Post, April 28, 2007
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will offer Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) a contract worth 500 million baht to build another train station, the fifth, on the Onnuj-Sukhumvit 107 extension. Last July the city administration contracted ITD for 3.8 billion baht to build the super-structure and four stations for the 5.25km extension that starts from the BTS electric railway in Onnuj and heads for Samut Prakan above Sukhumvit road. Deputy Bangkok governor Panich Vikitsret said the extension should actually have five stations but the BMA had contracted for only four because the other would have to go in Samut Prakan province, which was out of its jurisdiction...
More Skytrain delays: City firm on opening new skytrain route - Council of State ruling could delay project - Bangkok Post, April 21, 2007
The city administration is determined to go ahead with its plan to open an extended 2.2km skytrain route to Thon Buri even though the project may be ruled by the Council of State as a joint public-private investment. In principle, that ruling would delay the opening of the extended route for at least another year as there is a long process to go through...
Construction of the extended route, which runs from Taksin bridge to the Taksin intersection is now almost 100% complete...
Trying to stop the Skytrain
The TRT government prevented the Skytrain from expanding its lines since 2001. This was essentially because the Skytrain company is owned by allies of the rival Democrat Party. Thai political parties have always been associated with business groups and these groups prosper depending on the fortunes of political parties. Beyond this, the TRT party and the power brokers it absorbed into its ranks from other parties are heavy with vested interests in automobile and road businesses and are antithetical to mass transit.
After the Democrats won the Bangkok governor's post, it became even more important to halt Democrat-linked initiatives to prevent Democrats from taking credit for mass transit schemes. Technicalities were also used to successfully delay Bangkok Governor Apirak's BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) project. (It should be noted however that the city government and central government tend to be at odds even when the governor would be assumed to be sympathetic to the ruling party.)
In October 2005 BMA finally brought the Skytrain extension controversy to a head by allocating money for the project (earlier allocations were stymied by a variety of technicalities). Initially all the TRT city council members were absent preventing approval of the allocations.
Faced with certain passage if all Democrat members showed up, the central government finally had to publicly declare their opposition to the extensions. After the debacle of the government having to cut back most of the mass transit lines it promised during the last election campaign, it could not afford to have the Democrats touting the Skytrain extensions as their promised fulfilled.
Facing withering criticism in the press and high profile demonstrations orchestrated by the Bangkok Governor, the central government finally gave in and accepted that the extension would be built. When the vote for the budget allocations came up, all TRT city council members voted with the Democrats to finally allow the extension to go ahead.
2Bangkok.com has been reporting on the Skytrain extension controversy since 2001 when politicians began vowing to make the Taksin Skytrain extension pillars the next Hopewell project. This was long before any English-language sources reported anything about this interesting political football.
BTS revenue sharing schemes for the Taksin Extension - translated and summarized by Wisarut from Prachachart Thurakij, January 16-18, 2006
BTS has come up with revenue sharing scheme with BMA as the condition to get the continuing help from BMA on the troubles of extensions which have been delivered to Krungthep Thanakhom which can be described as follows:
1) Payments according to the distance
2) Calculating the passenger fee starting from the station the passenger embarks
3) First 10 baht will be for BMA as the payback for BMA to construct extensions for BTS--and other provisions if necessary.
BTS said this scheme may cut the revenue of BTS by 1.6 billion baht in the next 23 years of the concession, but BTS would get the 50,000 new daily passengers.
Skytrain extension news 2001- 2004
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