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From the Thai-language press: Final conclusion on MRTA Purple Line in July with measures to protect the last durian orchards in Nonthaburi - translated and summarized by Wisarut from Dailynews, April 29, 2005
After the last meeting with local people along the Purple Line at Klong Bang Phai Tambon Administration Office in April 27, 2005, AEC Consultant found that most people want to realize this project as soon as possible and they need as many park and ride facilities as possible.
The initial Park and Ride facilities will be at Nonthaburi 1 (Rattnathibet 30) and Klong Bang Phai Depot.
However, many people--especially durian orchard owners at Sai Mah--feel worried about environmental protection measures since the construction could ruin the last durian orchards in Nonthaburi. Durian at Nonthaburi always command premium prices and locals consider Nonthaburi durian as a national treasure which has to be paid in gold or hard currencies (US dollars, Euro and Yen).
Therefore, MRTA may have to pay the durian orchards compensation at premium prices if they are going to construct a Park and Ride at Sai Mah.
The position of Sai Mah Station is at the construction site of the new Sai Mah U Turn Bridge on Rattanathibet Road so AEC initially considered cutting Sai Mah station off the list, but strong ;demand from local people have compelled AEC to secure Sia Mah station + Sai Mah Park Ride and Sai Mah U Turn Bridge as part of the project. The final results will be delivered to MRTA in July 2005.
BMA also told Dailynews correspondents that the construction of Udomsuk tunnel near Wat Sri Lam Intersection (Sri Nakharin crossing Bang Na - Bang Pakong Highway) would not have a detrimental effect on the construction of the Yellow LRT since BMA will design a new Udomsuk tunnel by taking the Yellow LRT (AKA Samak Golden Ring Railway) into account.
OTP is pushing the following projects forward so as to complete 10 lines in 6 years by asking 390 million baht for consultants.
1) Yellow LRT -> Lad Phrao - Lum Salee - Sri Nakharin - Samrong
2) Pink Monorail -> Muang Thong Thani - Chaeng Watthana - Ram Indra - Minburi (30 km) Rom Klao - Lad Krabang
OTP also asking for 30 billion baht to foot the mass transit construction bills before capitalizing from the markets.
Commentary by Wisarut: It seems to me that OTP is going to push some controversial projects at all costs and OTP is going to use EIA as the rubber stamp of approval to push the projects while misleading the public. These projects are:
1) Laem Phak Bai Project
2) Lad Phrao Elevated Way
3) Asok - Lang Suan Elevated Way Project (this project is going to remove those slum dwellers at Phai Sing Toh Canal near Queen Sirikit national Convention center)
I found that the first section of the Pink Monorail project will have the route shortened from 41 km (Pakkret - Minburi) to 30 km (Chaeng Watthana - Minburi) since the new JBIC-funded bridge across Chao Phraya at Pakkret has no space left. Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance told the press that the government has two choices to finance the projects:
1) Only 5 profitable lines can be constructed in 6 years
2) Extend the project from 6 years to more than 10 years
This will ensure that the projects will go on while the GDP growth rate is 5-6%, the inflation rate is within a 32% limit and public debt is still within 50% of GDP limit.
BTS also complains that OTP refuses to deliver their proposal to the Ministry of Transportation as an arm-twisting and bullying measure to force BTSC to sell stock to the government at very cheap prices.
Mega projects 'lack good governance' - Bangkok Post, February 28, 2005
The development of state mega projects is failing to comply with the concept of good governance, since the authorities are ignoring public opinion and violating citizens' rights with regard to natural resources, academic and civic groups said yesterday...
Transport Ministry focuses on 3 major projects - TNA, March 27, 2005
...The government is interested in the dual railway track system but its construction is likely to take several years. More crucially though the locomotives, which have been in service for more than 30 years could pose a problem, he said.
...Government officials are trying to find ways to reduce the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) enormous operating loss, currently running in the red to the tune of five billion baht a year...
MEGA-PROJECTS: Ascon releases bidding plan - The Nation, April 1, 2005
Little-known, well-connected firm targets airport rail project, among others.
Ascon Construction Plc, which includes the prime ministers niece Chinicha Wongsawat among its major shareholders, unveiled a business plan yesterday that focuses on bidding for government mega-projects.
These include the Bt500-billion high-speed rail link to Suvarnabhumi Airport and the Bt10-billion Centre for Government Agencies.
Chinicha, who is the daughter of Thaksins sister Yaowapa Wongsawat, did not show up at the news conference to announce the companys change of direction, which was addressed by the companys CEO, Pattanapong Tanumatthaya.
Ascon is a little-known company that was founded in 1991 by the Tanumatthaya family. But late last year, the company raised its registered capital from Bt50 million to Bt200 million. The paid-up capital is Bt150 million.
As a result, the Wilailak family, who control the Samart Telecom Group, and the Wongsawat family emerged as major shareholders with about a combined 50-per-cent stake.
The Tanumatthaya familys holding in the firm was diluted from 100 per cent to 50 per cent...
Govt urged to delay two city mass transit projects as economy slows - Bangkok Post, March 25, 2005
...During the House debate on government policies, Democrat MP Korn Chatikawanit called on the government to rethink two of the seven mass transit projects, including plans to open new routes for skytrains and subways in the city.
..."Though the government plans to spend 1.5 trillion baht on various investment schemes in the next four years, two of the seven mass transit projects incur up to 40% of the total costs but accommodate only 18% of city commuters.
...He admired the skytrain and subway projects, even though none passed his constituency of Yannawa district...
...Some 15 years on, the euphoria for privatisation lies in tatters. The physical debris of the unfinished and now defunct Hopewell elevated rail/road project is a reminder of the tragedy of these high hopes. The finances of the Don Muang Tollway are still in ruins. The Expressway and Rapid Transit Authority of Thailands victory over Kumulgai Kumi, the Japanese construction giant, proved to be a Pyrrhic one.
Elsewhere, even if we factor out the damages caused by the foreign exchange disaster in the run up to the 1997 economic crisis, Thailands telecom industry lies in a confused state with an un-level playing field, much to the detriment of competition and innovation within the industry. The Skytrain project, which has in all other areas proved to be a success, is caught in the trap of local and national politics. And many independent power plant projects have run into one problem or another...
Pak Bara Deep Sea Port - Strategic Port of Thailand - translated and summarized by Wisarut from Manager Daily (1 & 2), December 19, 2004
Thailand exports para rubber and rice by going through Port Klang and Tanjung Pelapas in Malaysia as well as Singapore which adds more transportation cost since both Malaysia and Singapore put a surcharge on Thai exports.
To cut transport costs of products such as rice, para rubber, etc. to European countries, the India subcontinent, Middle East, and Africa, the new deep sea port of Pak Bara (Lagoo district of Satun) would have a price tag of 5.6 billion baht. This will cut transportation costs by 269.568 million baht a year.
The advantage of Pak Bara over Phuket and Phang Nga deep sea port is that Pak Bara could accept larger ships (50,000 ton deadweight) since Pak Bara is 13 meters deep which could be easily upgraded to 25 meters deep, and Pak Bara is only 150 miles away from international routes inside the Straits of Melaka.
The Pak Bara deep sea port requires a good rail connection and there are 3 choices for the route:
1) Trang - La Ngoo - Pak Bara (100 km)
Pro: Shortest Route, linking with Thung Song Junction, good for those who live in the Northern part of Southern region
Con: No link with the Deep South and Hat Yai as well as the Provincial Hall of Satun
2) Hat Yai - Satun - Pak bara (130 km)
Pro: Connecting with Hat Yai, Satun and three deep south provinces - good political movement since it will support the Halal Food Industry in Pattani. It will forces Port Authority to upgrade Songkla Deep Sea Port to have a rail link, creating a land bridge.
Con: The longest route
3) Kuan Nian - La Ngoo - Pak Bara (110 km)
Pro: A compromise since Kuan Nian is the station on the main route between Hat Yai and Thung Song.
Con: Investment required to upgrade Kuan Nian station into the same standard as Thung Song and Hat Yai. No connection with Satun.
The Nation leads with a mass transit story...
Cash will be found to expand capitals transport system, says a victorious Thaksin. Fresh from a sweeping re-election victory, the emerging Thaksin II government will reward Bangkok voters with a promise to complete the expansion of the seven mass-transit-system routes in the capital.
The six-year expansion totals 248 kilometres and would cost Bt521 billion...
The signal from this meeting was clear: Suriya, who together with Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsuthin have mustered factional control of 125 Thai Rak Thai MPs following Sundays crushing election win, is likely to keep his transport portfolio...
Mass transit article roundup - January 31, 2005
Wisarut points out and summarizes recent mass transit articles in the Thai-language press:
Nonthaburi Provincial Administration Organization showing its selfishness by asking for all-underground section of the Purple Line Subway to Bangyai so as not to compete with their private buses - Matichon, January 30, 2005
MOF asking MRTA to give more details about Purple Line Subway or they will not guarantee the loan - Matichon, January 28, 2005
Rolling stock factories in Thailand - February 2, 2005
Wisarut reports: Transport Minister Suriya said there will be 10 lines of mass transit with a price tag of 500 billion baht along with more than 100 set of rolling stock in 5 years. The winners of the bidding for the second batch and further batches of Subway rolling stock are required to set up a local subway assembly line in Thailand to also produce stock for other Thai cities and for export.
However, many Thai netters (here and here) said the government should help BMA and BTSC out of trouble for the Taksin and Samrong extensions first. Otherwise, they would say TRT has told a big lie to the public.
1) Yellow Line - Lad Phrao - Sri Nakharin - Thepharak - Samrong
Distance: 33 km
Price tag: 40 - 45 billion baht
Estimated number of passengers: 100,000 passengers a day
1.1) Lad Phrao -> connect with park and ride
1.2) Bhawana -> shortcut to Ratchadaphisek and Senanikhom
1.3) Saphan 2 -> flea market
1.4) Chokechai 4 -> very important road linking Sena Nikhom and Lad Plakhao together
1.5) Janthima -> shortcut to Sutthisarn
1.6) Wang Thonglang -> Big C Lad Phrao
1.7) Mahadthai 1 -> shortcut to Hua Mark Stadium
1.8) Vejthanee -> Vejthanee Hospital
1.9) Happyland -> giant center since buses, vans, terminate here due to The Mall Bang Kapi, Carrefour and Tawanna IT Store
1.10) Lum Salee -> a very congested intersection
1.11) Krungthep Kreetha -> connecting with Unico Golf Club
1.12) Hua Mark -> the starting point of double tracking of eastern line and Airport Transit along with Jusco Sri Nakharin.
1.13) Sri Nut -> Onnut + Sri Nakharin Intersects here
1.14) Seacon -> Seacon Square -> giant mall with some vigor
1.15) Seri Center -> another mall
1.16) Sri Udom -> Udomsuk + Sri Nakharin intersect here -> heading to King Rama IX Park
1.17) Sri Lam -> Wat Sri Lam -> close to Central City Bang Na
1.18) Si Kharin -> Soi Lasalle intersects with Sri Nakharin - Sikharin Hospital nearby [BMA city limits]
1.19) Phatthana Chumchon -> near Food Lion + Carrefour Sri Nakharin
1.20) Nam Daeng (red thorn) -> Wat Nam Daeng
1.21) Sri Thepha -> Thepharak intersects with Sri Nakharin
1.22) Mahawongse -> Mahawonse canal - midway between Sukhumvit and Sri Nakharin
1.23) Thepharak - connecting with Samrong Nuea station - end of the line
2) Pink Monorail
First Phase: Pakkret - Muangthong Thani - Chaeng Watthana - Ram Indra - Minburi
Distance: 30 km
Price Tag: 20 billion baht
Second Phase: Minburi - Lad Krabang - NBIA [no finalized route yet]
City planning forces developers to stick to areas along mass transit lines - translated and summarized by Wisarut from Manager Daily, December 24, 2004
The new BMA city plan is forcing real estate developers to go outside the CBD and creating the sprawl in the same way as an octopus--going from the CBD and then following the mass transit line tracks. So OTP is asking for real estate development inside CBD if possible as well as the area between Ratchadaphisek Ring Road and Kanchanaphisek Ring Road. Also that BRT be substituted for the mass transit lines which are not constructed yet. So far, the only upcoming lines are
1) Purple line (Bangsue-Bang Yai)
2) Red line commuter (Rangsit-Mahachai)
3) Suvannabhum Airport Link
However, the other lines will be delayed due to the land expropriation for park and ride. Furthermore, the 2nd phase of Taksin extension and Bangkok Southern Transportation center will have to be delayed due to the tussles on the nationalization process as the exchange for the government's help to construct the system and the land expropriation for Bangkok Southern Transportation Center.
MRTA and SRT seems to have fewer problems, so the construction of Purple line (Bangsue-Bang Yai) will be started in 2005 after the plan is complete by April 2005. The system will be opened in December 2009. The Red line commuter (Rangsit-Mahachai) and Airport link (Phayathai-Makkasan-NBIA) will follow suit.
Pitfalls of promoting the auto industry domestically - translated and summarized by Wisarut from Manager Weekly, December 24-30, 2004
Bad consequences and domino effects come from promoting the automobile industry. It is the main reason why our railway system goes downhill after the long-term support for the auto industry. This also causes pollution, traffic jams and mayhem on the roads. Also a waste of economic resources which would be better used supporting other industries.
Also: BTS will cease issuing the 3-day pass (280 baht - 40 trips) due to a lack of demand (Siam Thurakij, December 22-25, 2004)
Coming up with two new LRT lines and nationalization - translated and summarized by Wisarut from Manager Daily, December 15, 2004, Dailynews, December 16, 2004, and Thai Post, December 16, 2004
The strong public demand for good mass transit systems has compelled the government to come up with two new lines:
1) Yellow Line: Lad Phrao - Bang Kapi - Hua Mark - Sri Nakharin - Sri Thepha - Samrong (32 km all elevated LRT or monorail) - 45 billion baht
2) Pink Line - Pakkret - Muangthong Thani - Chaeng Watthana - Rama Indra - Minburi (27 km all elevated LRT or monorail) - with feeder bus or van from Minburi to Klong Sam Wah (near Safari World) and the provision for an extension from Minburi to Lad Krabang or NBIA -20 billion baht
The initial investment will be 10 billion baht though.
After finishing all nine planned lines, it will create a massive network of mass transit of 360 km and a 15 baht flat rate may be applied.
The nationalization process will be done in following way:
1) For BTS - look at the financial statement in detail--wait unit BTS finishes the debt restructure and they will be back for the nationalization.
2) For BMCL - look at the financial statement in detail, but make 25% of stock at par first and then look at the financial statement in detail again.
OTP speeding up MRTA Pink monorail - translated and summarized by Wisarut from Than Setthakij, December 26-29, 2004
MRTA has come up with the rough draft of the Pink Monorail (Pakkret - Muang Thong Thani - Bang Khen - Ram Indra - Minburi) with total distance of 27 km and the price tag of 20 billion baht (map).
The MRTA Pink Monorail would go from Pakkret Intersection along Chang Watthana Road to Laksi Intersection via the gate of Muang Thong Thani, Tesco Lotus, Big C., Consul Section, MOFA , SCHQ, ICT, Laksi Railway Station, and Rajabhat Phra Nakhon. After that, it will go along Ram Indra Road all the way to Suwinthawongse Road near Minburi Prison via Lad Plakhao, Maiyarab, Watcharaphon, Nawamin [Charakhe Bua], Khanna Yao [Fashion Island] or so.
There will be 13 elevated monorail stations which can be listed as follows:
2) Muang Thong Thani
4) Laksi railway Station - Interchange for Red Line Commuter
5) Wat Phra Sri Mahathat - Interchange with Phaholyothin Extension
6) Lad Pla Khao [short cut to Kaset, Sena Nikhom, and Nawamin - lots of suburb villages]
7) Maiyalap [shortcut to both Lad Pla Khao and Ram Indra - At Narong expressway - lots of suburb villages]
8) Watcharaphon [suburb villages - near Ram Indra - at Narong Expressway - another set of suburb village row]
9) Nawamin [road to Bang Kapi]
10) Khanna Yao [Fashion Island]
11) Phraya Suren [road to King Sam Wah and Safari World as well as suburb villages such as Punya Ram Indra]
12) Hathai Raj [the road near Minburi Intersection and Lotus Minburi]
13) Nimit Mai [the road to Klong Sam Wah District and Lum Lookka and Lad Krabang (via Rom Klao Road)]
OTP will finish the study on this Pink Monorail in 75 days to be submitted to the upcoming government. They will have to find if it is necessary to add more stations since the station are too far away.
Commentary by Wisarut: Sooner or later, those people who live along Chang Watthana - Ram Indra Road will demand that they should get the better treatment, at least to be at par with those love along Lad Phrao-Sri Nakharin-Thepharak Road (the Yellow Line)--or even a better deal like elevate a metro like those who live along Ratthathibet Road (Purple line).
Furthermore, the list of stations should be revised as follows:
2) Software Park
3) Muang Thong Thani
4) Sahakorn Karn Bin Thai
5) Prachachuen -> connect with Tesco Lotus Chang Watthana
6) Supreme Commander HQ
7) Laksi Railway Station - Interchange for Red Line Commuter
8) Rajabhat Phra Nakhon
9) Wat Phra Sri Mahathat - Interchange with Phaholyothin Extension
10) Rama Indra [connect with Central Ram Indra]
11) Lad Pla Khao [a short cut to Kaset, Sena Nikhom, and Nawamin - lots of suburb villages]
12) Maiyalap [shortcut to both Lad Plakhao and Ram Indra - at Narong Expressway - plenty of suburb villages]
13) Watcharaphon [suburb villages - near Ram Indra - at Narong Expressway - another suburb village row]
14) Nawamin [road to Bang Kapi]
15) Khanna Yao [Fashion Island]
16) Suna Siam [Suan Siam Water Theme Park]
17) Phraya Suren [road to King Sam Wah and Safari World as well as suburb villages such as Punya Ram Indra]
18) Hathai Raj [the road near Minburi Intersection and Lotus Minburi -> should be modified as "Minburi"]
19) Nimit Mai [the road to Klong Sam Wah District and Lum Lookka and Lad Krabang (via Rom Klao Road) - (AKA Poteh Intersection since Useful Food Factory [the produce of Peteh Potato Chip] is not far away from that intersection]
After the first phase (27 km) is done, the 2nd phase from Nimit Mai will have to go to NBIA via Rom Klao Road (14 km). Even though, they can go to Rom Klao Road alone so as to connect with Airport Link at Lad Krabang, they should take the large number of students at KMITL into account since many of them are willing to pay to ride on mass transit systems. Van to Mochit 2 via Victory Monument is quite expensive (40 baht). The van to Bang Kapi and Minburi is quite cheaper, but they will have to get off at Bang Kapi or Minburi so as to go to other places. Commuter railways lines have been reduced to please vested interest and Airport Transit has not been extended to Chachoeng Sao yet even though it should be. Bus 517 from KMITL to Mochit 2 is a very long and tedious route. Private bus to Onnut and Bang Kapi are infrequent and dangerous to ride. The 2-row bus to Lum Phakchee (intersection to Nong Chok - Muslim District) is very unreliable.
Big plans for Bangkok green spaces and clean roads - translated and summarized by Wisarut from Manager Daily and Thairath, January 3, 2005
Governor Aphirak told Bangkokians that BMA is going to grant 10 new parks, 10 clean canals and 10 clean streets to improve the quality of life for Bangkokkians while giving 1 million young trees to be planted around BMA area during the ceremony of 'Clean Bangkok Home" in Lumphinee Park on January 3, 2005.
Residents can ask for some of the 1 million young trees from all 50 district offices or the Nawamin Office and Onnut office of BMA Gardening Section. Furthermore, students will give the young trees in the malls around Bangkok.
The 10 new parks with the total area of 336 rai:
The first 2 parks--to be ready by the end of Jan 2005
1) Thung Sikan Forest park (Sikan area of Donmuang district - for the local people of Sikan commune)
2) Kiakkai Chaloemphrakiat Park (Kiakkai - Dusit district)
The other 8 parks will follow such as:
1) Mahatthai Park (Prawet district)
2) Sanam Luang 2 Park (Thawee Watthana district)
3) Phra Ram 9 - Pradit Manootham Park (Huay Kwang)
4) Ram Indra Sport Park (Bang Khen district)
5) Kalapraphruek - Kanchanaphisek Interchange Park (Bang Khae district)
6) Kalapraphruek - Rajaphruek Interchange (Chomthong - Phaseecharoen district)
7) 60 year Queen Sirikit Park (Lad Krabang district)
8) Lam Phang Phuay Pond (Bung khum district - not far from Serithai Park)
Furthermore, there will be a new water park at Nong Bon water park (650 rai) where Bangkokians can jet ski, kayak, windsurf, and sailboat--to be opened in August 2005.
BMA also plans to diverge water from Chaophraya to cleanse the following 10 polluted canals while running a garbage boat service to ensure cleanliness.
1) Klong Lord (the old city moat)
2) Klong Bang Lamphoo (the upper middle city moat)
3) Klong Ong Ang (the lower middle city moat)
4) Klong Wat Thepthidaram (the link between the old and middle city moat at Wat Thepthidaram)
5) Klong Wat Rajbophit (the link between the old and middle city moat at Wat Rajbophit)
6) Klong Phadung Krungkasem (the new city moat)
7) Klong Bang Sai kai (a canal for the orchard in Talingchan district)
8) Klong Bang Nam Chon (a canal for the orchard in Talingchan district)
9) Klong Samreh (a canal for the Southern part of Thonburi)
10) Klong Bang Sakae (a canal connected with Phaseecharoen canal)
The first 10 roads to be cleansed and have no leftover garbage:
1) Rajprarob (Dindaeng Intersection - Pratoo Nam)
2) Phyathai (Victory Monument - Sam Yan)
3) Phaholyothin (Victory Monument - Chatuchak Park)
4) Rama 4 (Hua Lamphong - Phra Khanong)
5) Rajadamnoen Avenue (Sanam Luang - Equestrian Monument)
6) Sri Ayuthaya (Thewet - Soi Moh Leng in Makkasan)
7) Vibhavadee Rangsit Highway (Dindaeng - National Memorial)
8) Phetkasem (Wongwian Yai - Bang Khae)
9) Charansanitwongse (Tha Phra - Rama 7)
10) Sukhumvit (British Embassy - Soi Bearing)
The garbage collecting fee will be cut from 40 baht to 20 baht.
Thirty-five new small fire stations, in addition to the existing 30 fire stations, will be built.
A new viaduct connecting Saladaeng Station with Bangkok Bank HQ will be installed as well as a new viaduct connecting Sukhumvit 1 (Soi Ruen Ruedee) with Nana Station and Asok Station to pick up more passengers
The area along Chao Phraya (Rama 8 Bridge - Rama 7 Bridge) as well as the area along Bangkok Noy Canal (New Thonburi Station - Wat Suwannaram) will be clean up and regulated. Eleven new bicycle routes along Phetkasem, Charansanitwongse, Lad Phrao-Phaholyothin with total distance of 83.9 km will be installed.
Now 34 traffic lights for crossing streets as well as smart traffic systems, new school buses, and buses along the expressway will be installed. The second BMA Sports School in Thonburi for 4 sports (athletics, football, swimming, and tai-kwan-do) is going to accept 80 students of the 4th grade while BMA will set up 6 new electronic libraries.
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