Skytrain News 2000

Entrance to the Skytrain. In the bottom right corner is a boy about to go on the escalator (there's a wild bull in his black backpack).

Cartoon Skytrain

2001 - This isn't really news, but is interesting nonetheless. Local cartoonist Adisuk Pongsumpan has created a continuing series in the comic Neoz that transpires on the Skytrain. The antics include a girl named Kwang (a common name meaning deer--she has antlers in the cartoon) who has heard there is electricity under the train to make it go and is thus afraid to touch the floor of the train. There is a also a boy who brings a wild bull and an army of pigs on the train.

Cartoonist Adisuk Pongsumpan



More Skytrain Ephemera - January, 2001 - BTS published this nifty booklet with detailed maps of the areas and businesses around each Skytrain station. The layout is really nicely done. On one side of the book is the Thai version and on the back cover is the English version. Available at the Skytrain stations (while supplies last) with the purchase or refill of a 500 baht ticket.
Skytrain Brochure
(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
Cover of the first-edition Skytrain Map
issued February, 2000

Cool! May, 2001 - An anonymous reader emailed us this very early Skytrain design concept sketch. The final design looked nothing like this.

Skytrain Dunkin' Donuts
(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
One of the first Skytrain commercial tie-ins--December, 1999
Dunkin' Donuts packaged its Munchkins (donut holes)
in a long box shaped like the BTS Skytrain.
The Thai part reads, "The first Skytrain in Thailand."

Hawkers occupying the Skytrain stairways
BTSC asks BMA for immediate help
- Thairath Daily, December 18-19, 2000
        Hawkers are occupying Skytrain stairways in 6-7 stations and vagabonds are hanging around the stations and sexually harassing female passengers. BTSC has asked BMA to solve these problems.
        BMA correspondents said BMA received the letter from BTSC about the problems around the stations in November 2000. The letter said passengers had complained that:
1) There were lots of hawkers obstructing the stairways at Saladaeng, Thong Lo, Siam, Ratchathewee, Nana, and Victory Monument stations
2) Vagabonds at Ekkamai Station (Wat Thatthong side) are panhandling and sexually harassing ladies who walk alone around the station.
3) Hawkers at Victory Monument have stolen 300 stainless steel covers of sewage drains not far from the walkway installed by BTSC with a price of 180,000 baht sell to junk yards. The company has to replace them with the 300 welded cast iron covers which will cost the company 60,000 baht.
        These problem will worsen the situation during an emergency evacuation. Therefore, BTSC asks BMA, Ratchathewee District Officer, and Bang Rak District Officer to solve those problems. BMA said they will set a prohibition zone of 10 meters from the stairways to ensure that the hawkers do not block the pathways and stairways.

10-baht Microbus is a hit - Going to Open 2 More Lines in Early February 2001
- Thairath Daily, December 21, 2000
     Miss Pornthip Naranonkittikul, CEO of Bangkok Microbus Co.Ltd. said that after starting the first 4 microbus lines to feed the Skytrain with a ticket price of 10 baht and a guarantee of seats, the company found that Microbus No.11 (Prachaniwet 3 - Mochit Station) is the most popular line. The company will make an assessment for about a month before opening a few more lines such as Donmuang-Mochit and Tha Phrachan - Siam in early February 2001.
     Miss Pornthip said the company has issued two types of coupon books - a small one with 10 coupons (220 baht) and a big one with 50 coupons (1000 baht) as a discount to normal ticket fee of 25 baht since December 1, 2000.  The company found that there ia such strong demand for big coupon books that the company has to issue them without limit during the new year season. The coupon books are sold in Bangkok Microbus Co. Ltd. (Vibhavade and Sri Nakharin Branch), Chulalongkorn Book Center, Kasetsart University Book Center, and Ramkhamhaeng University Book Center and the Microbus inspectors inside the microbuses.

BTS say they didn't break the underground oil pipelines at Phyathai Station
BTSC's ready to start construction of extensions after receiving the cabinet approval
- Thairath Daily, December 28, 2000
        BTSC say they did not break the pipeline of the Pipeline Transportation Co. Ltd. at Phyathai Station on December 27, 2000 since the company had asked the Pipeline Transportation Co.Ltd. about the details three years ago and there were no problems during and after the Skytrain construction. BTSC said the pipeline company should investigate the actual causes of the broken pipeline which could have resulted from the land subsiding or vibration from the Eastern Railway and Phyathai Road. BTSC sent the construction plan to the Pipeline Transportation Co. Ltd. to check if the Skytrain construction caused the pipeline break down. There is no problem for the compensation since both Pipeline Transportation Co.Ltd. and BTSC bought insurance policies from the same insurance company.
        Mr. Karun said that the cabinet had approved the start of construction of extensions without calling a new bid since they consider that the extensions are not the new lines, just additional services. Now, BTSC is going to discuss with BMA about the investment plan, the budget, and the ticket fees. So far, BTSC will start the construction of the Eastern and the Southern Extension with a distance of 11 km first. The Rama III Extension will be started after finishing the first two extensions. Furthermore, BMA will peruse the cabinet for the 3rd phase of extensions (Mochit-Lumlookka, Wongwian Yai-Mahachai, Thepharak-Bangplee).

BMA feels no confidence that BTSC can construct the Skytrain extensions
- Thairath Daily, December 13, 2000
     The BMA Correspondent said that there was a committee meeting about the Skytrain extensions according to 1992 Joint Venture Act at the BMA City Hall. The committee said they had no confidence that BTSC would be able to construct the Skytrain extensions since the company is carrying a daily loss of 6 million baht (monthly loss of 180 million baht). Therefore, the committee will ask a consultant company to study whether BTSC will have much better financial support and security if the company decides to construct the extensions. Furthermore, there will be a study of how much the minimum and maximum ticket fees will be if BTSC decides to invest in all the extensions or if BTSC decides to make a joint venture with other companies to invest in all the extensions.
     The committee decided that the Samrong extension (Onnut-Samrong) must be constructed first due to high population. After that, the Taksin Extension (Saphan Sathon-Taksin) would be built, and then the Rama III Extension (Chong Nonsee-Sathupradit).  Even though the cabinet approves all three lines, but the construction cannot be started since BMTA is trying to pressure the cabinet to approve the plan to negotiate with contractors who have strong interests in the construction instead of calling a new bid to ensure that the Samrong extension will be done by December 2002.

Update-December 14, 2000 and still waiting for a route decision

Four Proposed Lines for the Skytrain Northern Extension (Mochit - Lum Lookka)
- Thairath Daily, Thursday December 7, 2000
        Pol. Maj. Yongyut Sarasombut, OCMLT Secretariat, told the press that OCMLT has discussed with BTSC, MRTA, SRT, BMA, MOTC, the Governor of Pathumthanee Province, and the scholars about the best route for the Northern Extension of the Skytrain. The results are 4 preliminary and proposed routes which can be shown as follows:
       1) From Mochit Station to Lum Lookka via Phaholyothin Road and Lum Lokkka road - proposed by the consultant company OCMLT hired, the one shown at the October OCMLT seminar
       2)  From Mochit Station and connect with Hopewell at Bangsue Station. After that the route will go along SRT railway by using the abandoned pillars as supports up to Donmuang Station and then turn right at RTAF HQ to Lum Lokka - proposed by OCMLT.
       3)  From Mochit Station to Ratchayothin Intersection via Phaholyothin Road and then turn right to go along  Ratchadaphisek Inner Ring Road to Ratchada - Ladphrao Intersection to Saphan Song. After that, the line will go along Lad Phrao canal and Klong Song to Lum Lookka - Proposed by Governor Samak
       4)  From Mochit Station to Lum Looka via Phaholyothin Road up to Ratchayothin and then turn left along  Ratchadaphisek inner ring road to Km11 Railways Community and then use Hopewell pillar to go to Donmuang before turning right to Lum Lookka.
        The final decision about the route will come up on December 12, 2000. So far, the consultant company didn't point out which route is the best route for the Northern extension. Therefore, OCMLT need to make another discussion regarding to the construction cost, distance, upcoming problems, and of course the economic returns and social effects - before making the final decision from the data 15 agencies deliver to OCMLT.  Furthermore, the Northern extensions should connect with other mass transit systems such as Hopewell and MRTA.  The suitable connection should be at Ngam Wongwan area - connecting with Hopewell at Bangkhen Station or so - since this will connect with the proposed expressway.
Notes: Going along Phaholyothin Road up to RTAF Academy and then turning right to Lum Lookka will be one of the best route except it requires the demolition of Senanikhom Flyover - the unacceptable thing for those who live from Kaset to Ratchayothin area. Using the abandoned Hopewell pillars is quite a nice idea even though more people live along Phaholyothin road those who live along Vibhavadee - Rangsit Highway. I hope they will come up with the optimal route that pick as many passengers as possible while minimizing social and environmental damage and of course traffic jams.
        Nevertheless, OCMLT should have the BMTA bus route readjustment plan in their hands after realizing the final route for the Northern extension to ensure that when Northern extension becomes a reality, BTSC will have enough profit to break even and pay all the loan plus interests as soon as possible.
Commentary by Ron: Send the Skytrain up Phahonyothin and demolish the Senanikhom flyover. I work just north of Rachayothin intersection and drive to work each day. Everyone in this overpopulated and congested area seems to want the Skytrain to pass through. The traffic is often at a standstill already (much of which is due to the Major Rachayothin [a shopping mall and theater] constructed with pathetically inadequate parking and nonexistent passenger loading zones). The flyover itself makes the street level dark, polluted, and cave-like even at midday. When it rains, cars driving overhead splash dirty water onto the sidewalks below. A sensible mass transit solution like the Skytrain may be the best solution, especially if this route can put the Skytrain in the black.

Four lines are ready to facilitate BTSC passengers
- Thairath Daily, Thursday November 30, 2000
        Miss Pornthip Naranonkittikul, the CEO of Microbus Co. Ltd., said that the company will start 4 feeder lines for Skytrain passengers on December 1, 2000:
Special Airconditioned bus No. 9 - Bangbon - Saladaeng Station
Special Airconditioned bus No. 11 - Prachanivet 3 Village - Mochit Station
Special Airconditioned bus No. 13 - Paknam - Onnut Station
Special Airconditioned bus No. 14 - Ramkhamhaeng 2 (Bangna Campus) - Onnut Station
        Each line will have 10 feeder buses and the passenger ticket is 10 baht with seats guaranteed. If there are lots of passengers, the company will consider expanding the feeder services.
        Miss Pornthip said for the regular microbus services, the normal fee is 25 baht. However, the company suggests those who use the Microbus daily to buy a 220-baht coupon booklet (10 tickets each) and a 1000-baht coupon book (50 tickets each). The company cannot reduce the fee since the company has lots of expenses to deal with such as counter fees for the bank to count coins. Therefore, regular passengers should buy coupon books or booklets to get a big discount and facilitate fee collecting.
        As for fare cards that can be used in both Skytrain and Microbus, it is pending in the BTSC committee.
Notes: There is an hourly feeder service from Mochit station to Muangthong Thanee which helps passengers in Chaeng Watthana area, especially those who live in Muangthong Thanee to ride the Skytrain. However, the most logical way is to ride the BMTA bus No. 52 or a van that goes to Mochit station. I hope that BTSC will approve the cards that can be used in both Skytrain and Microbus as soon as possible.

Samak pushing for Skytrain extensions to start this month and be completed in two years
- Dailynews, Tuesday December 5, 2000 (the 1st Year Anniversary for Skytrain Service)
       Bangkok Governor Samak pushing for Skytrain extensions to start this month and be completed in two years. Furthermore, he asks BTSC to construct more Park & Ride facilities close to the stations
        In the afternoon of December 4, 2000, Governor Samak Sunthoravet came to Phayathai station for the 1st anniversary of the Skytrain and said the Skytrain has alleviated traffic jams in BKK but it is too short to reach the edges of Bangkok. Therefore, BMA will do its best to speed up the Southern and Eastern extensions to be done within 2 years. Now the process is stuck in the Cabinet to approve the contractor. However, Samak is still worried that BTSC may no longer be able to pay the annual 10% loan interests to the creditors. Therefore, it may be necessary for BMA to find another company to bail BTSC out of the financial troubles and find a way
to ensure that the construction will start by the end of this month.
        Governor Samak said BTSC is at the loss due to the fact that the routes have few facilities to connect the passengers of other modes of the land transpiration. Therefore, he urges BTSC to find more places to construct park & ride facilities. The daily service fee should be 40 baht for each car.
Notes: I hope that the caretaking cabinet will approve the right contractor to ensure that the construction will be done and ready for service on December 5, 2002. Italian-Thai PCL is the old contractor of BTSC but the company's default on bond interest payments has pushed the company into financial trouble. Ch. Karnchang PCL is okay but the company should ensure that the MRTA stored-value tickets can be used in both Skytrain and Subway. Other contractors may have little chance to get into the extension project without the connection with either Italian-Thai PCL or Ch. Karnchan PCL.

Samak Urges Immediate Construction
- Thairath Daily - Vol. 51 No. 15628, November 4, 2000
Mr. Samak Sunthoravet (BMA governor) said that BTSC should start the construction of the BTS extensions immediately since the cabinet has already approved the extensions. Furthermore, BTSC has strong and steady financial resources to do so after they joined Shanghai Metro Co. Ltd. in a new alliance. Therefore, it will be very bad deal if NESDB imposes a red tape by forcing BMA to call a new bid to construct these extensions instead of letting BTSC to construct them. Such red tape will delay the extension project by 7-8 months. Therefore, he will make an appointment to meet with Mr. Visanu Kruea-Ngam (the Cabinet Secretary).
     For the extension project, the 9-km Eastern extension (Onnut-Samrong Tai) will be constructed first with a 300-meter corridor connecting BITEC with Udomsuk Station as well as hotels along the route to facilitate a physicians' group who will come to a convention at BITEC in the next two years. It will take 18 months to construct the Eastern extension. The Southern extension can be delayed since BTSC is running a feeder bus from Surasak Station to Wong Wian Yai.
Notes: Old Samak has hit the nail on the head! It would be much cheaper to construct a corridor connecting BTS stations with significant places (e.g. hotels, department stores, trade centers or so) than manipulating the route from the plan. NESDB should loosen up the red tape to ensure that the construction will be done on time.

BTS to issue tickets for Skytrain and Microbus in 2001
Skytrain gets lots of passengers even during the October school vacation
- Thairath Daily - Vol. 51, No. 15630, November 6, 2000

     Mr. Karun Chanthrangsu, a BTSC committee member, said BTSC will issue tickets that can be used in both Skytrain and Microbus to facilitate mass transit connections. So far, BTSC and Microbus Co. Ltd. are discussing which Microbus lines will join this project, the lifetime of the connection ticket (either within a single day or a few day period), and ticket fees. If the negotiation goes as planned, the new tickets will be issued by Microbus and BTSC not later than January 2001.
     Mr. Karun also said that the number of Skytrain passengers increased even during the vacation period of October--170,000 passengers a day at the beginning of vacation and 200,000 passengers a day on October 27, 2000. Such a phenomena shows that Bangkokians have become more willing to use Skytrain service instead of getting stuck in traffic jams. Therefore, BTSC will launch continuing campaigns. BTSC is going to discount ticket fees and issue free commemorative gifts on December 5, 2000--the first year anniversary of BTSC.

BMA-OCMLT joining to survey for the Northern BTSC Extension
- Travel and Transportation Journal - Vol. 4, No. 178
Monday November 6, 2000-Sunday November 12,2000

     Samak is asking OCMLT to study the feasibility of the route for the Northern extension of the Skytrain. Pol. Maj. Yongyut Sarasombut replies that it will take a few months to study the details.
     Mr. Samak Sunthoravet (BMA governor) said after the route survey for the Northern extension of Skytrain that this survey is merely a preliminary survey since there are four proposed routes which will take time for OCMLT to study before deciding on the final route.
     So far, there are 4 proposed routes for the Northern Extension of Skytrain:
     (1) Construction along Phaholyothin Road and then turning right to Lum Lukka with a construction cost of about 24 billion baht (about US$600 million). (OCMLT proposed this route.)
     (2) Using Hopewell Structure up to Prem Pracha Station and then going along the border of the BMA area and Klong Song with a construction cost of about 22 billion baht (about US$550 million)
     (3) Construction along Bang Sue, Lad Phrao, and Klong Song with a construction cost of 30 billion baht (US$ 750 million). (Samak's proposed route)
     (4) Construction along Phaholyothin Road and then turning right to Bang Khen station via Ngam Wongwan Road before going along Hopewell line with a construction cost of 25 billion baht (US$ 625 million).
     The thorniest issue for the Northern extension via Phaholyothin road is the section from Soi Sena Nikhom 1 (Phaholyothin 32) to Kasetsart University since it is necessary to demolish a 1.2km flyover. Local folks from Senanikhom to Kasetsart University may reject such a route since they have seen what happened to the folk living in the Saphan Kwai area after the demolition of a flyover.
     Mr. Yongyut also said OCMLT is going to the engineering and financial feasibility, economic and environment impact, political support from BMA and the central government, and popular acceptability. So far, all 4 routes are technically feasible, but the financial feasibility is the next factor for the consideration. Construction along canals costs BMA 10-20% more than construction along Phaholyothin Road and 20-30% more than construction along Hopewell route. OCMLT will spend a few months studying the detail and writing a report before inviting BMA, MRTA, SRT to discuss the extension proposal.
Notes: With such preliminary information, Samak and BTSC should discuss with the SRT the proposal to construct the Northern extension on the Hopewell project partial revival (Bangsue-Rangsit). If SRT accepts the deal, it will be much easier to push the Northern project forward with the cheapest budget. Furthermore, BMA should discuss with the BMTA concerning the bus route readjustment to ensure that there will be some feeder to the Skytrain if Northern extension become reality.
     Another view point is that an area along Phaholyothin Road has much higher population density than that of Vibhavadee Rangsit Highway. The higher construction costs will be balanced by the large number of passengers. We will wait and see the final decision about the Northern extension and the political support to ensure that it will become a reality within 10 years.

OCMLT proposes four routes for the Northern BTS Extension
- Matichon Daily, October 20, 2000

     At 7am on October 19, 2000, the Bangkok Governor, the BMA Deputy Governor, the OCMLT Secretariat, and officers from BMA and OCMLT rode a boat from Wat Lad Phrao to go along Bang Bua, Thanon Canal to Klong Song (Canal 2) Watergate in Sai Mai District to make a survey of the route for BTS Northern Extension (Mochit-Lam Lookka).
     Mr. Samak said OCMLT had made 4 proposed routes for the Northern BTS Extension:
    1) Going along Phaholyothin Road to Kaset and then turning right to Kaset - Nawamin Road before turning left to go along Lad Phrao canal to Lam Lookka.
    2) Sam Sen canal from Victory Monument to Klong Tan and then going along Saen Saeb and Lad Phrao Canal to Lam Lookka.
    3) Going along Phaholyothin Road to Km 24 (Royal Thai Airforce Academy Curve) to Hok Wah Canal and ending up at Lam Lookka--a proposed route from the OCMLT October Seminar
    4) Going along Vibhavadee Highway to Chokchai Ruam Mit Lane and then go to Bang Sue canal to Lad Phrao 48 Road (Phibool Upatham Lane) and Saphan Song area and then go along Lad Phrao Canal to Lam Lookka--Samak's proposed route
     After the survey, OCMLT said the canal area is about 30 meters wide. Furthermore, it requires the raising of concrete pillars along the canal bank which necessitates the removal of 1-3 houses for each pillar. Samak responses that he will move those evicted families to his corn cob apartments not far from their old neighborhoods.
     Mr. Samak said OCMLT will listen what OCMLT and other people say before making a final decision about the Northern extension since OCMLT is going to collect the data about passenger density, feasibility, and other necessary information.
Notes: Samak may be right to select such a route (the route along the canal) to avoid competition with BMTA buses. However, it would be very nice if the BTSC has designed station positions in the following manners:
    1) To connect with MRTA Blue line at Ratchada Station
    2) To connect with piers along Lad Phrao canal
    3) To connect with BMTA bus stops so BMTA buses will feed the Skytrain. In such a case, BMTA needs to move its bus stops as close to the Skytrain station as possible.
    BMA should also deal the following tasks to ensure that Skytrain will pick up as many passengers as possible:
    1) Revive the boat line from Onnut to Saphan Mai via Klong Tan after it went out of service in 1999. The piers should be at the position to feed the mass transit lines if possible.
    2) Ask the Correction Department (Krom Ratchathan) to send convicts to dig the Bang Khen and Premprachakorn canals deep and wide enough for express boats to run so that BMA will be able to open the new boat routes to feed Skytrain as well as other mass transit lines.
    3) If Suvannabhum Airport (a new name of Nong Ngoo Hao Airport named by His Majesty The King) becomes a reality, BMA should run a boat service from Suvannabhum Airport to Donmuang Airport as a temporary measure to feed the passengers to both airports.
     Furthermore, Nai Lert boat (from Pratoo Nam to Chachoeng Sao via Saen Saeb canal) and Nai Lert bus (from Yot Se to Pratoo Nam via Rama I Road) once fed Bang Lamphoo Tramway. These were a few good samples of transportation networks during a good old days. Gee, could Samak make new networks resembling those networks in the past (before the 1960's)? Probably, Bangkokians will have to do it on their own!

New Ad
There is a new ad from BTSC about 30-day passes for those who don't travel as much (as opposed to the previous 30 trips pass):  

 
Number of trips
Pass Cost
Pass cost per trip
Student
10
160
16
Adult
10
250
25
Student
15
210
14
Adult
15
300
20
Student
30
360
12
Adult
30
540
18


- Than Setthakij Business Newspaper
September 21-23, 2000
     According to a map in this article, Samak has proposed to extend Skytrain from Victory Monument to go along Sam Sen Canal (small canal near Victory Monument) to Klong Tan and then turn left to go along Lad Phrao canal to Sai Mai District (with a distance of 23.4 km) and then go along Klong Hok Wah 11 km more to Lum Lookka District. The net distance for the Northern Extension is 24.5 + 11 = 35.5 km
     For the southern extension of the Skytrain, Samak has proposed that it should go along Krung Thonburi Road and then turn left to Taksin Road, passing Sam Reh, Mahai Sawan, Dao Khanong and then turn right to Jom Thong Road and then turn left at Jom Thong Station and go along Mahachai Railway to Mahachai. The total Distance will be 2.2 + 10 + 24.5 = 36.7 km
     For the eastern extension, it will go from Onnut and then turn left to BITEC at Bang Na Intersection. After reaching BITEC, the line will u-turn to Bang Na and then go along Sukhumvit Road to Thepharak Intersection and turn left to Bang Plee (at Bangplee-Ladkrabang Intersection). The total distance is 21.9 km.

The list of stations will be as follows:
Thepharak Extension - 21.9 km
E9 Bang Jak - Sukhumvit 62
E10 Thamm Mongkhon - Sukhumvit 101
E11 Udomsuk - Sukhumvit 103
E12 BITEC - Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center
E13 Bearing - Sukhumvit 107, Bangkok Boundary Pole
E14 Samrong - Sukhumvit 113, Wat Dan Samrong
E15 Thepharak - Thepharak Intersection
E16 Mahawong - Mahawong Canal
E17 Sri Nakharin - Sri Nakharin - Thepharak Intersection
E18 Bang Ping - Bang Ping canal
E19 Nam Daeng - Nam Daeng Market
E20 Bang Kaeo - near Outer Ring Road
E21 Srisuk - Srisuk Market
E22 Bang Plee - Bang Plee - Lad Krabang Intersection

Southern Extension 36.7 km
S7 Krung Thonburi - near Charoen Nakhon Intersection
S8 Wongwian Yai - Taksin - Krung Thonburi intersection near Wongwian Yai
S9 Samreh - Samreh Market
S10 Mahaisawan - Mahaisawan Intersection not far from Bangkok 2 Bridge
S11 Dao Khanong - near Dao Khanong canal
S12 Bang Khunthian - Bang Khuntian Market
S13 Jomthong - a community not far from Jomthong District
S14 Wat Sai - a temple that used to have a floating market but now the floating markets are in Damnoen Saduak, Tha Kha, and Taling Chan
S15 Wat Singha - a temple founded during the late Ayudhaya period
S16 Bang Bon - a community not far from Bang Bon district
S17 Kang Kheha - public housing set up by NHA in Bang Bon district
S18 Rang Sakae - probably corrupted from Bang Sakae, literally means a canal community with Sakae tree
S19 Rang Pho - probably corrupted from Bang Pho, literally means a canal community with a Pho tree
S20 Sam Yaek - literally means a 3-way intersection - probably a village near an intersection with Ekkachai Road or so
S21 Prom Daen - literally means the Border Line - the last station before coming out of Bangkok to Mahachai
S22 Bang Nam Juead - literally means a canal community of fresh water - the first station in Mahachai
S23 Khok Kwai - literally means a buffalo (or cattle) pen
S24 Ban Khom - literally Khmer village - used to be a Khmer community before being assimilated into Siamese society
S25 Klong Jak - literally means nipa palm canal - nipa palms usually grow in the area where salt and fresh water meet - mangrove tree area
S26 Mahachai - a terminal near Samut Sakhon Provincial Hall

Northern Extension 35.5 km
N9 Din Daeng - near Din Daeng Intersection
N10 Makkasan - Near Makkasan Railway Depot
N11 Rama 9 - Junction with MRTA Blue line at Rama IX Station
N12 RCA - Royal City Avenue, Entertainment area for yuppies in Bangkok
N13 Soi Soonwijai
N14 Ekkamai Nuea - Northern Ekkamai
N15 Saen Saeb - Saen Saeb canal near Rama IX pond
N16 Rama IX Temple - Rama IX Temple and Bangkok Japanese School
N17 Prachauthit - Prachauthit Road
N18 Janthima - Ladphrao 80 Road, a short cut to Ratchadaphisek and Ladphrao Road
N19 Saphan 2 - Lad Phrao Road near Chokchai 4 Road
N20 Wat Lad Phrao, Lad Phrao Buddhist temple
N21 Chandrakasem - near Rajabhat Institute of Chandrakasem (one of 36 teacher colleges in Thailand)
N22 Sena Nikhom - Phaholyothin 32 Road, a shortcut Lad Plakhao and Chokchai 4 via Wang Hin Intersection
N23 Lad Plakhao - near Kaset-Nawamin Road
N24 Bang Bua - near Wat Bang Bua, The 11th Infantry Regiment - Royal Guard
N25 Bang Khen - near Rajabhat Phra Nakhon, Chomchon Soi Kawee (Poem Lane  Neighborhood)
N26 Saphan Mai - Sphan Mai Flee market
N27 Wat Ko - near Wat Ko and RTAF Housing
N28 Sai Mai - near RTAF Academy
N29 Khoo Khot - near Klong 2
N30 Wat sai Mai - near Klong 3
N31 Wat Klong Khan - near Klong 4
N32 Klong 5 - near Eastern Outer Ring Road
N33 Wat Prachum Ratsadorn - near Klong 6
N34 Lum Lookka - near Klong 7 and Lum Lookka District, the intersection between Lum Lookka and Nimit Mai Road

October 2000

Notes:  If Samak successfully realizes the Southern Extension of the Skytrain to Mahachai, the list of station will be as follows:
S7 Krung Thonburi (AKA Charoen Nakhon) - the station will be on Krung Thonburi Road near Charoen Nakhon Intersection
S8 Wongwian Yai (AKA Wongwian Yai Railway Station) - the busiest circle in Thonburi side of Bangkok
S9 Talad Ploo (AKA Wat Pho Nimit) - one of the old trade centers in Thonburi
S10 Klong Ton Sai - literally means Banyan Tree Canal - a community in Thonburi
S11 Jomthong - a community not far from Jomthong District
S12 Wat Sai - a temple that used to have a floating market but now the floating  markets are in Damnoen Saduak, Tha Kha, and Taling Chan
S13 Wat Singha - a temple founded during the late Ayudhaya period
S14 Bang Bon - a community not far from Bang Bon district
S15 Kang Kheha - public housing set up by NHA in Bang Bon district
S16 Rang Sakae - probably corrupted from Bang Sakae, literally means a canal community with Sakae tree
S17 Rang Pho - probably corrupted from Bang Pho, literally means a canal community with a Pho tree
S18 Sam Yaek - literally means a 3-way intersection - probably a village near an intersection with Ekkachai Road or so
S19 Prom Daen - literally means the Border Line - the last station before coming out of Bangkok to Mahachai
S20 Bang Nam Juead - literally means a canal community of fresh water - the first station in Mahachai
S21 Khok Kwai - literally means a buffalo (or cattle) pen
S22 Ban Khom - literally Khmer village - used to be a Khmer community before being assimilated into Siamese society
S23 Klong Jak - literally means nipa palm canal - nipa palms usually grow in the area where salt and fresh water meet - mangrove tree area
S24 Mahachai - a terminal near Samut Sakhon Provincial Hall
The distance from Wong Wian Yai to Mahachai is about 33 km and the distance from Taksin Bridge to Wong Wian Yai is about 2 km. Therefore, the total distance is about 35-36 km for the southern extension of  the Skytrain.

The Skytrain Construction to Samroong Ready to Feed BITEC - Starting in this November
- Dailynews, Bangkok Metro Section,  September 15, 2000

    Bangkok Governor Samak ordered BTS to go forward with the construction of the Eastern extension (Onnut - Samrong) to feed BITEC (a convention center) in 18 months. BTS accepted the order, with a condition that BMA must be one of the investors of this extension project so BMA will share the construction debts with BTS. The Eastern extension will start on this November with a budget of 20 billion baht.
    At 10:30 on September 14, Samak Sunthoravet, Bangkok governor came to Mochit Station to perform an opening ceremony for the escalator service. Samak told the press that this day was the fist day he used the Skytrain service, and he praised the Skytrain service saying it was definitely clean, very comfortable and safe, with awesome scenes along the routes. Therefore, he decided to pursue OCMLT to put his these extensions with a total distance of about 100 km into the revised masterplan. So far, the consultant company hired by BMA is making a survey on all three routes.
    Since the Skytrain has been approved to extend from Onnut to Samrong and Taksin Bridge to Wongwian Yai, Samak decided to order the BTS to extend it from Onnut to Samrong, with a modification to pick up passengers at BITEC due to its significance as an international convention and business center. The construction will begin in this November and finish in the next 18 months so it will be ready for service on the Coronation Day (May 5, 2002). BTSC will take charge of the construction and service.  However, BMA and BTS will discuss and negotiate the financial responsibilities for this project.
    Mr. Khiree Kanchanaphak, BTS CEO said the company is ready to construct this extension immediately since the company has financial resources to cover the project which is about 20 billion baht (US$500 million).  However, BTS would use only a fraction of that loan, and would ask BMA for the rest so BMA will share the construction costs with BTS and become an underwriter for BTS.  BTS will also negotiate with BMA about the route and the feasibility to construct a detour to BITE as well as financial responsibility.  BTS said it needed government support so BTS can realize the detour to BITEC.
    So far, BTS now has enough revenue to feed itself: about 200,000 passengers a day is enough to cover the daily operational costs of 5 million baht. However, BTS has delayed the daily interest payments of 10 million baht to creditors.
Notes: The reason BTS is able to open the escalator service is that Siemens (BTS creditor and a rolling stock provider) and the escalators installation contractors are both German firm so it is possible to make a quick negotiation. Also, BTS decided to delay an IPO due to the bear market condition in SET. However, BTSC must make an IPO by November 15, 2000 or the company has to resubmit the IPO form to SEC.

Samak Insists He Will Not Nationalize BTS, Defends Skytrain Extensions
- Dailynews, Bangkok Metro Section, August 29, 2000

     Samak insisted BMA won't buy BTSC to become a state enterprise under BMA, but he would definitely help the BTSC with a join venture for BTSC extensions.
     Mr. Samak Suthoravet, BMA Governor, repsonded to the criticism (see article below) from the officers of BMA Traffic and Transportation Bureau who pointed out that Samak's plan to extend the Skytrain to Lumlookka, Mahachai, and Bang Plee would push the extension plan back to the beginning due to the new studies and other red tape, saying that such a person was talking without using his head to think. The reason Samak make such a response was that the old OCMLT masterplans (both heavy-rail lines and the feeders) have already marked the lines to construct the Skytrains close to the extensions he proposed. He simply extended the routes a little more. For the investment plan, BTSC takes charge on the plan since the company has a concession while BMA finds potential investors.
     Mr. Samak said even though Mr. Khiree Kanchanaphak has asked BMA to buy the Skytrain and proposed the nationalization of Skytrain to lower the fare, BMA would decline to do so since BMA dioes not have enough money. In the current economic downturn, BMA cannot absorb losses from BTSC but instead find a way to extend the routes which will help BTSC in the long run.
     BTSC told the BTS customers that from August 26, 2000, free shuttle buses for Skytrain customers will run from 7AM to 10:30PM instead of 6AM to midnight. Furthermore, BTSC has readjusted three shuttle bus routes such as Mochit-SCB Park Plaza, Mochit-Central Ladphrao, Ekkamai (Sukhumvit 63)-Thong Lo (Sukhumvit 55).
Notes: Samak should listen to what his men are thinking about the projects and make compromises that will make everyone happy and complete the extension projects. However, Samak's notorious for being a grumpy old man so delicate negotiations and compromise are very critical things. One of the compromises I see as the best deal for both is that Samak should approve the old three extensions first so the construction of those extension can start. After that, Samak can extend the routes to Mahachai, Bang Plee, and Lum Lookka in the way he would like to do so. However, there must be some readjustments for the 3rd phase which I'll make my opinion as follows:
    1) Mahachai Extension from Wongwian Yai Railway Station to Machai - No need for any new adjustment since everything looks fine.
    2) Bang Plee Extension via Thepharak Road - this line should have a Sri Nakharin extension from Lum Salee Intersection to Thepharak-Sri Nakharin intersection to ensure that it belongs to BMA, not Samut Prakarn City Hall. Even better, Bang Plee extension should also extend to Nong Ngoo Hao Airport via King Kaeo Road.
    3) Lum Lookka Extension via Lad Phrao Canal - It may not be a good deal to construct the extensions along the canal.
    The alternatives could be as follows:
    3.1) Reviving the canal taxi boats along Lad Phrao Canal (Saphan Mai-Klong Tan-Onnut) as a feeder for Lum Lookka Extension which will render the construction along the canals unnecessary. To make the feeder possible, the taxi boat vendors should issue tickets that can be used to ride a boat and Skytrain (single fare of course!) - tickets with 2 parts - one for boat and the other for Skytrain - for those who want to make a long journey. BMA will get the boat routes along the canals
back from Harbor Department by 2003, so Samak will be able to stretch the routes of feeder boats to serve the people in suburbs to travel into the City Center as he wants to do so.
    3.2) Making the extension from Mochit to go along Vibhavadee Rangsit Highway to Ratchavibah Intersection
    3.3) Turning right to go along Ratchadaphisek to Ratchada-Ladphrao Intersection to pick up passengers at SCB Park Plaza and Major Cineplex, Rajabaht Chandarakasem, Ministry of Justice and the courts and make a transfer station with MRTA Blue line at Lad Phrao Station
    3.4) Turning left to go along Lad Phrao Road, making a transfer
station to Lad Phrao pier to ride a feeder boat (Saphan Mai-Onnut), and Chokchai 4 Road to ride a shuttle van to Lad Pla Khao (Ram Indra Km.2). Keep going until it reaches Ram Indra-Atnarong Expressway
    3.5) Turning left along Luang Pradit Manootham Road (the road
under Ram Indra -Atnarong Expressway) to Rama Indra Road at
Nuanchan Intersection (It is possible to go along Lad Phrao Road up to Bang Kapi Intersection, turn left to go along Nawamin Road to Charakhae Bua and turn left to Ram Indra Road. However it requires to demolish Bang Kapi flyover which would be a very unpopular measure.)
    3.6) Going along Ram Indra Road to pick up the passengers at Bang Khen, Lad Plakhao, and Ram Indra Km4.
    3.7) Turning right at Lak Si Circle to go along Phahol Yothin Road. There will be a transfer station to a feeder boat at the bridge near Wat Kau and RTAF to pick passengers at Saphan Mai.
    3.8) Turning right to go along Lum Lookka Road to Lum Lookka.
    3.9) Readjust the BMTA bus routes to fit the new mass transit systems.

New routes Require Approval from 13 Agencies
Heavy Criticism on Extension Projects: Back to the First Step?
- Dailynews, Bangkok Metro Section, August 28, 2000

     According to the report from BMA City Hall, the officers of the BMA Traffic and Transportation Bureau have strong objections to Samak's plan to make three new extensions since such a plan will push the extension projects back to the beginning. Governor Samak's attempts to readjust the Skytrain extension routes will force the project to turn backwards since it requires new studies, new environmental reports, new approvals from 13 agencies, and new cabinet approval even though the cabinet have already approved the old extensions and is just waiting for a signature from the contractor. It is also impossible to realize all three new extensions within 4-year term of BMA governor since it requires new studies on the routes, feasibility, problems and obstacles. It is also requires BMA to write new environmental impact reports before getting approval from 13 agencies (e.g. MOTC, MOF, OCMLT, NESDB etc.) and eventually cabinet approval before calling for contractors.
     The existing three extensions (Onnut-Samrong, Taksin-Wongwian Yai, and Mochit-Ratchayothin) had been studied since the term of Capt. Kritsada Arunwongse Na Ayudhaya, the former BMA governor from 1992-1996, and had passed all the necessary steps before being signed signing by the BMA governor and the viable contractors. This process took more than four years.

SRT Joining BMA to Extend Skytrain by Giving Some of Its Land
Samak Trying to Woo China to Invest in the Extension and Ring Road Line
- Thaipost Daily, August 23, 2000

     Samak Sunthoravet, Bangkok governor, said he had met Mr. Sarawut Thammasiri, Director of State Railways of Thailand (SRT) to discuss land allocation to construct the BTS extension from Taksin Station to Mahachai via Wongwian Yai Station. The distance from Taksin Station to Wongwian Yai Station is about 2.5-2.6 km and the distance from Wongwian Yai Station to Mahachai is about 28 km. Therefore, the Mahachai extension (AKA the Southern Extension of the Skytrain) will be about 30-31 km long.
     Mr. Sarawut told Samak that he felt glad to allow BMA to construct the Skytrain extension, and that SRT was going to join with BTSC to invest in this project. However, SRT was going to allow BMA to use only a 10-meter-wide strip of the 20-meter-wide strip SRT owns since SRT has to reserve some space to construct new rails linking Hua Lamphong Station to Wongwian Yai station in the future. The SRT and BMA will set up a committee to discuss the details of this extension project.
     Also, the German ambassador in Thailand has sent a letter to Mr. Samak to discuss the 37-million-baht government loan for the feasibility study. Mr. Samak said he expected that the Mahachai extension would be the first extension to be started.
     Furthermore, Mr. Samak discussed with Mr. Sarawut the Bangkok Satellite City Projects which will be started at the construction of the new commuter lines. The first line will start from Makasan Station (SRT Depot) to Chachoengsao. Actually, there is an Eastern SRT line stretching from Yommaraj to Laem Chabang (Deep Seaport) and Aranyaprathet (Border town to Cambodia). However, the eastern commuter line running from Hua Lamphong to Hua Takhae does not have enough capacity to carry Bangkokians to and from both ends. Therefore, the new commuter tracks are necessary to allow Bangkok to expand as it needs. In the future, there will be a new mass transit loop running along the Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road which has a distance of about 100 km. However, Samak needs to discuss this with the Highway Department before proposing this line.
     Samak said at end of this September, he is going to have a meeting with other 31 Asian city governors so he will have a chance to talk with representatives from China about the investment in Skytrain extensions and the Kanchanaphisek Loop Line since China has very strong interest in these two megaprojects.
Notes: Samak may need to consider replacement housing for neighborhoods living along the Maeklong Line in the same way he did for the neighborhoods along Land Phrao Canal (see article below). For the Kanchanaphisek Loop Line, it is a great deal but Samak will have to link the East-West section running from Bang Khunthian to Bangkhae, Talingchan, Bang Yai, Bang Buathong, Bang Pa In, Lum Lookka, Minburi, Saphan Soong, Onnuj, and Bang Plee. Southern section will be start after the Southern section of Kanchaphisek Outer
Ring Road becomes a reality which will need several years to do so.

Soothing the Neighborhoods Around Lad Phrao Canal
Samak Guarantees New Apartments for the Neighborhood Families
- Thai Post Daily, August 22, 2000

     (Bangkok Governor) Samak guarantees new apartments for those who surrender the land along Lad Phrao Canal for the BTSC Northern Extension by negotiating with the National Housing Authority to allocate new apartments for them, so there is no need to panic.
     Mr. Samak Suthoravet said he would ask the neighborhoods to surrender some land along the canal to BMA for the construction since it is necessary to raise the concrete pillars along the canal banks.
     "BMA doesn't want to make the people along the canals to panic since BMA's ready to find new apartments not far from their old neighborhoods to accommodate them." He'll discuss with NHA (National Housing Authority - www.nha.or.th) to get some advice and agreements to construct new apartments to accommodate BMA officers and their families as well as the poor neighborhoods along the canal. He'll ask NHA to allow big families (a family that has 2 or more children) to have 2 units (rooms) of an apartment for each big family.
      However, Col. Winai Somphongse, Samak's rival, said Bangkok's traffic problems come not from the lack of mass transit system but the lack of traffic discipline. It would be much better off to use BMA Municipal Affair officers (Jao Nath Thee Thessakit) to become traffic volunteers by getting some traffic control training from the Traffic Police Bureau since BMA Municipal Affair officers no longer deal with hawkers every Wednesday as they used to do (note: after Samak was elected, he ending the Wednesday ban on food vendors on sidewalks).

Supporting BTS Extension to Mahachai
OCMLT Agrees with Samak to Use the SRT Route
Costs: 6-7 Billion Baht
- Thairath Daily, August 19, 2000

     Bangkok Governor Samak Suthoravet discussed with Pol. Maj. Yongyut Sarasombut the Skytrain Extensions at the OCMLT building on the morning of August 18. After the 40-minute discussion, Mr. Samak said OCMLT agreed with his proposal, but still had some differences about the details.
 1) Eastern Extension - Samak wants to extend to Bangplee via Sukhumvit Road and Thepharak Road while OCMLT wants to follow the cabinet-approved route to Samrong Tai via Sukhumvit Road.
 2) Northern Extension - Samak wants to extend to Lum Lookka via Samsen Canal, Bangsue Canal, and Ladphrao Canal while OCMLT wants to go along Phaholyothin Road and Lumlookka Road. Otherwise, this extension could go along Vibhavadee Highway and then use the northern section of Hopewell project to Lak Hok and then turn right to Lum Lookka.
 3) Southern Extension - Samak wants to extend to Mahachai via Taksin Road and Ekkachai Road while OCMLT suggests that it should go along Maeklong Railway Line.
     Samak said he will discuss with the German Embassy concerning the 37-million baht loan for the feasibility study to find the best routes for those extensions. After those talks, he will negotiate with private investors who want to deal with these extension projects.
     Samak said since Bangkok expands so fast that many Bangkokians have moved to suburbs. Therefore, it would be a much better deal if the Skytrain had been expanded at that time as far as possible instead of constructing one by one as Dr. Bhichit has planned. After the long extensions are done, the fare should be a flat rate at 20-25 baht since the extension would be able to carry a million passengers a day. Samak said he won't guarantee that all the extensions will be done within his 4-year term, but he'll start all 3 extensions at the same time.
      Pol. Maj. Yongyut said OCMLT will study these extensions in detail to fit them into the revised mass transit master plan. When the final draft of the master plan is done, OCMLT will deliver it to the Traffic Committee and Cabinet to get approval.
     JICA has advised OCMLT that the success of mass transit systems depends on complete networks, good extensions, and a fare structure fitting into passengers' budgets. These three elements of success depends on strong and steady financial resources. So far, the Northern and Eastern extensions will need about 30 billion baht and Southern extension will need 6-7 billion baht to realize them. The Southern extension (Taksin-Mahachai) has the strongest potential to be finished and to be put into service due to strong demand from Thonburi people, and it will take about 3 years to finish this extension. However, BMA needs to negotiate with SRT first so BMA can start the construction of Southern extension immediately.

The Best Transport
Asiaweek August 18-25, 2000

    "Bangkok's new Skytrain, a mere 23-km system, is already credited with improving traffic by about 4%. Which is why cities around the region are investing in rail lines. Singapore is to extend its 83 km of mass-rail lines by another 20 km. In China, Beijing is adding 13.5 km to its existing system, compared to 23 km in Guangzhou and 27 km for Shanghai. Delhi is fast coming into line too. The Indian capital expects to have a 55-km network in place by 2005 along with an astounding 50% reduction in air pollution." The complete article is here.

Major New Extensions Proposed!!!
Samak Drawing Skytrain Extensions to Bang Plee - Mahachai - Lumlookka
- Daily News (www.dailynews.co.th), issue August 9, 2000, Bangkok Metro Section

    (New Bangkok Governor) Mr. Samak plans ahead for BTS extensions to Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakarn and Pathumthanee to boost passengers to the one-million-passengers-a-day level. He has negotiated with BTSC creditors about his plan to finance the project and with OCMLT to push his proposal into the national agenda for upcoming government to get cabinet approval.
     Mr. Samak Sunthoravet, BMA governor said he was going to discuss with OCMLT the proposal to make three new Skytrain extensions since the three cabinet-approved extensions are still too short to serve Bangkokians who live in suburb areas.  Samak's Skytrain extensions are as follows:
    1) Lumlookka Extension: From Mochit Station to go along with Bangsue Canal, Ladphrao Canal, Bangbua Canal, Thanon Canal (Ladphrao, Bangbua and Thanon canals are the same canal but different names in the different places), Ying Charoen Flea Market (a major flea market in the Northern Bangkok in Phaholyothin Road in addition to See Mum Muang Farmer market and Thai Flee Market along Vibhavadee Highway and Chatuchak Weekend Market), and then going along Sai Mai Road (Phaholyothin 54 Road), Km 25th Lane, Lum Lookka Road, Eastern Outer Ring Road to Lum Lookka District office in Pathum Thanee.
    2) Bang Plee Extension: From Onnut Station going along Sukhumvit road to Samrong and then turning left to go along Thepharak Road which intersects Sri Nakharin Road. The line will end up at Bang Plee District Office, Samut Prakarn.
    3) Mahachai Extension: From Taksin Bridge to Taksin Road and then turn Left to Dao Khanong and then turn right to go along Ekkachai Road and pass Mahachai Muang Mai to Mahachai area (the town center in Muang District, Samut Sakhon)
        All three extensions will be around 60 km. There is no need for people to surrender land to BMA except in the places to construct stairways. For Lum Lookka extension, the construction will go along the bank of the canal, not at the deepest course of the canal to prevent the extension from becoming an obstacle when BMA tries to drain floodwaters during the flooding season and to minimize the environmental impact to the canal and the neighborhoods along the canals.
        Samak said he was going to ask OCMLT if they would approve his proposals.  If so, he'll push his plan as hard as possible to put into the national agenda and get cabinet approvals.  He'd start construction after receiving cabinet approval and the contract signing with the contractors, BMA and the BTSC.  If not, he'll shorten the extensions to BKK city limit (except in the case of Samrong Tai extension which has already stretched beyond Bangkok city limit).
        For the investment method, Mr. Samak said he has discussed with BTSC creditors such as KFW Bank of Switzerland and Siam Commercial Bank Pcl. about it. Those creditors said they have an interest in this plan since it will enable BTSC to gain more daily income, break even with the Skytrain project, and repay the debt BTSC owes. Samak also proposed that BMA should be one of major shareholders of BTSC via Krungthep Thanakhom Co. Ltd (Financial Arm of BMA).  The initial ticket fee would be 20 baht flat rate and the fee will be raised to 25 and 30 baht in the next 4-5 years after the extensions become a reality to attract a million daily passengers.
Notes: As far as I am concerned, Samak's proposal is quite a good deal but I have to figure out many technical issues along his extension routes:
     1) How can he stretch Lum Lookka extension without a complicated structure?  If it goes to Lad Phrao intersection and then turns right to Vibhavadee and turns left to Bangsue Canal, it won't complicate the route structure but it will cause a sharp and dangerous curve at Lad Phrao Intersection.  If it goes from Mochit Station directly to Bangsue Canal, it will require extra rails and complicated structure to enable the rolling stocks to run as smooth as possible and he will need an extra depot at Lum Lookka station as well. Lum Lukkka extension will pass through the RTAF area - his Thai Citizen Party area - so BTS may gain more passengers from RTAF servicemen and their families.
     2) For Bangplee extension, it is a Samrong extension plus an extra route to Bang Plee via Thepharak Road. The Samrong Tai extension is close to the Erawan Shrine so Samak night not decide to stretch the route along Sukhumvit Road to Paknam.
     3) Mahachai extensions will be parallel to Mae Klong Railway (Dao Khanong to Mahachai) and MRTA Orange line (Wongwian Yai to Dao Khanong).  I'm not so sure if OCMLT will approve this line since it has a long stretch, and there will be other routes to serve Bangkokians in suburbs.

Kheree Biting the Bullet by Cutting BTS Fare by 55 - 70 % to Attract More Regular Passengers
- Thannsetthakij Vol. 20, No. 1508, July 27 - 29, 2000

[Notes: I think the BTS has decided to take these moves after seeing the landslide victory of Mr. Samak Sunthoravet who is the new BMA governor. Samak said he will nationalize the BTS since the company put a very high price tag on its tickets, so the BTS response to Samak is the introduction of 30-day Skytrain passes to prevent the company from becoming a state enterprise in the same way as MRTA or SRT - both very inefficient organizations.]

     Mr. Kheeree Kanchanaphak, BTSC CEO, said the BTSC is going to introduce 30-day student and 30-day adult passes for those who ride Skytrain as part of their daily routine. The 30-day passes will expire 30 days after the day of purchase and have a limit of 30 trips. You can use the passes to go to any stations. It will be a big bargain if you travel a long distance (e.g. Taksin to Mochit).
     The 30-day student passes are for those not older than 23. Each pass will cost 360 baht a pass (12 baht a trip within 30 days after purchase). Student passes are now on sale in Chulalongkorn Book Center (Siam Square and Chulalongkorn University Campus), and they will be on sale in the BTS stations on August 1, 2000.
     For the 30-day adult passes, they will be on sale in BTS stations on August 15, 2000.  Each pass will cost 540 baht (18 baht a trip within 30 days after purchase). For those who do not use Skytrain as a regular basis, BTSC will issue BTS gold cards on a 1: 1 basis.  These offers will expire on the New Year Eve (December 31, 2000).
     To make the Skytrain more convenient to passengers, BTSC will introduce free shuttle buses for those who are Skytrain passengers which will run from 6 AM to midnight. This service will start on August 1, 2000.  BTSC rented the shuttle buses from Microbus Co. Ltd. There will be 7 shuttle bus lines:
1) Line 1180, Silom-Sathon -> from Saladaeng Station, Narathiwat Ratchanakharin Road, Chong Nonsee Station, Sathon Road, Rama IV Road back to Saladaeng Station
2) Line 1171, Wireless Road - Lungsuan -> from Wireless Road, Ploenchit Road - Chitlom Station, Lungsuan Road, Sarasin Road
3) Line 1172, Asok-Nana -> from Sukhumvit Road, Asok Station, Phetburi Road, Soi Nana (Sukhumvit 3) and back to Asok Station
4) Line 1174, Thong Lor - Phromphong -> from Soi Thong Lor (Sukhumvit 55), Phetburi Road, Soi Phromphong (Sukhumvit 39) - Thong Lo Station
5) Line 1170, Ratchaprarob - Chitlom -> from the Empress Hotel, Makkasan Road, Ratchaprarob (Patoonam), Bangkok Barzaar, Chitlom Station, Ploenchit Road
6) Line 1176, Klongtan - Ekkamai -> from Sukhumvit Road, Phra Khanong Station, Phra Khanong-Klongtan Road (Sukhumvit 71), New Phetburi Road - Ekkamai (Sukhumvit 63)
7) Line 1177, Sukhumvit 36 - Sukhumvit 26 -> from Rama IV Road, Soi Saeng Sabuy (Sukhumvit 36), Sukhumvit Road, Thong Lor Station, Soi Ari (Sukhumvit 26)
     All of the shuttle bus lines will run on circle routes. There will be brochures for all seven shuttle bus lines.
     Mr. Arnut Abhabhirom, the BTSC Board Consultant, said the company has installed 12 escalators in 10 stations such as Mochit (2 escalators), Ari, Victory Monument (2 escalators), Ratchathevee, Nana, Ekkamai, Thonglor, Phrakhanong, Saladaeng, and Taksin.  They will be ready for service in August, 2000.  The company hopes that these marketing activities ease travel difficulties, create ease for BTS passengers, and thus improve the quality of life for Bangkokians.

from Ban on Elevated Trains Faces Appeal, by Patcharee Luengthai, The Nation, Monday, July 3, 2000
    The SRT would ask the cabinet to change the resolution issued on May 17, 1994 requiring mass transit systems within a 25 square-kilometer core area to be underground.
    SRT has hired TEAM Consulting Engineering and Management Co Ltd, Electrowatt Engineering Ltd, LEK Consulting Ltd., JMP (Thailand) Ltd, and ASDECON Corporation Ltd to work as consultants for the feasibility study on the Bangkok Railroad Improvement Project which will be finished later this month.
    Those consultants have proposed an "ultimate service network" for long-term development of the SRT's network in Bangkok Metropolitan Region which they derived from the government's 20-year Railroad Improvement Project which focuses on the railway infrastructure development of the SRT corridor. This 20-year project is derived from the 1994 Urban Rail Transportation Master Plan and the current goals of SRT.
    According to the project, there will be 3 types of local and regional passenger services: mass rapid transit (MRT) services, standard commuter services, and express commuter services. MRT services will start from Donmuang Railway Station to Hua Mark Railway Station. SRT commuter services will start from Rangsit Railway Station to Hua Mark Railway Station, and extend to Nong Ngoo Hao Airport later on. The SRT long distance passenger/freight services will be from Ayutthaya to Chachoengsao via Hua Lamphong. Bang Sue Junction will become a depot for both MRT and SRT.
    The consultants propose a gradual development from today's system to an ultimate service network, targeting the total 1,853,000 passengers a day by the year 2021 -> MRT will carry 30% of this figure and the commuter will carry the rest.
    SRT officers said that it would cost the SRT about 26 billion Baht (US$ 520 million) to construct the elevated lines from the Northern to the Eastern Corridor (Rangsit - Yommarat - Hua Mark), but it would cost the SRT 50 billion Baht (US$ 1,250 million) to construct the underground tracks for the same corridors. Investment costs for electricity and maintenance will be 36 billion Baht (US$ 900 million) for MRT and 32 billion Baht (US$ 800 million) for commuter service system.
    Furthermore, the elevated tracks are much easier to construct since the contractors can simply use the pillars from the moribund Hopewell Project and thus solve the grade separation problems. Demolishing these abandoned superstructures to construct underground tracks is not practical at all.
    The consultants said the option selected for the configuration of the northern corridors from Bangsue to Hua Lamphong (about 6.5 km), and the eastern corridors from Makkasan to Yommaraj (about 5.9 km) will dictate the option from the proposed future southern corridor extending from Hua Lamphong crossing the River to Wongwian Yai Railway Station (3.5 km). For the new western corridor from Bang Sue to Rama VI Bridge, it should be the elevated tracks. The consultants recommend that the government should bare the costs of track infrastructure, electrical and mechanical systems while the private firms should pay for the rolling stocks, operations and maintenance.

Notes: The SRT preferred network is as follows:

Mass Rapid Transit Services Stations - Northern Corridor
1) Donmuang Airport (Donmuang Railway Station - opposite to the International Terminal which will become an airport for cargo and chartered flight services after Nong Ngoo Hao Airport becomes the only Bangkok International Airport - a transit station to SRT commuter services and SRT long distance service)
2) Donmuang South (Domestic Terminal)
3) Karn Keha (Thung Songhong Housing - apartments run by National Housing Authority)
4) Laksi (Km 19 railway station and neighborhood)
5) Chulaporn (Laksi Railway Station - but the station is close to Chulabhorn Research Institute)
6) Thung Songhong (Thung Songhong Railway Station - near Chitchon Road to North Park)
7) Bang Khen (Bang Khen Railway Station)
8) Prachanivej (Prachaniwet 1 Village, near Wat Samian Naree)
9) Ratchadaphisek (near the flyover connecting Ratchadaphisek Inner Ring Road together)
10) Bangsue 2 (Km 11 railway station and neighborhood)
11) Bangsue 1 (Bangsue Junction - connecting MRTA Blue line, SRT commuter services and SRT long distance services - should be underground)
12) Pradiphat (Pradiphat station near RTA military zone - should be underground)
13) Ranong (Ranong station near RTA Military Education Department - should be underground)
14) Samsen (Samsen Railway station - should be underground but probably not possible since there are some abandoned pillars from Hopewell project here)
15) Dusit (near Chitladda Royal Railway Station - must be underground)
16) Yommaraj (near OCMLT office - transit to Eastern Corridor)

Mass Rapid Transit Services Stations - Eastern Corridors
1) Yommaraj (near OCMLT office - transit to Northern Corridor)
2) Phyathai (Transit to SRT Commuter service and BTS green line)
3) Ratchaprarob (near Pratoonam Market)
4) Makkasan (Makkasan Railway Station - SRT maintenance center)
5) Asoke (Transit to MRTA Blue line, SRT commuter services and SRT long distance service)
6) Watmai Chonglom (opposite to Soi Prasarnmit)
7) Soi Soonwichai (near Channel 11 TV station and RCA)
8) Klong Tan (Klong Tan Railway Station)
9) Ram Khamhaeng (Sukhumvit 71 Railway Station, near NASA Spacedrome (a disco), the beginning of Ram Khamhaeng Road)
10) Rama IX (near a short cut to new Rama IX Road)
11) Seri (Seri village)
12) Hua Mark (Hua Mark Railway Station - transit to SRT commuter service, end of MRT line)

SRT commuter services - Northern corridor
1) Rangsit (Rangsit Railway Station)
2) Donmuang Airport (Donmuang Railway Station - opposite to the International Terminal which will become an airport for cargo and chartered flight services after Nong Ngoo Hao Airport becomes the only Bangkok International Airport for services - a transit station to MRT services and SRT long distance service)
3) Bangsue 1 (Bangsue Junction - connecting MRTA Blue line, MRT and SRT long distance services - should be underground)
4) Hua Lamphong (Bangkok Railway Station - transit to MRTA Blue line, SRT Long Distance Service)

SRT commuter services - Eastern corridor
1) Hua Lamphong (Bangkok Railway Station - transit to MRTA Blue line, SRT Long Distance Service)
2) Phyathai (Transit to SRT Commuter service and BTS green line)
3) Asoke (Transit to MRTA Blue line, MRT and SRT long distance services)
4) Hua Mark (Hua Mark Railway Station - transit to MRT service, end of SRT commuter line)

SRT commuter services - proposed future Western Corridor
1) Bangsue 1 (Bangsue Junction - connecting MRTA Blue line, MRT and SRT long distance services - should be underground)
2) Bangson (Bangson Railway Station near Rama VI Bridge)
3) Bang Bamru (near Mahasawat Canal and Southern bus terminal)
4) Talingchan (Talingchan junction - Transit to SRT long distance services)
5) Nakhon Pathom (Nakhon Pathom Railway Station)

SRT commuter services - proposed extensions
1) Ayutthaya (Northern Corridor)
2) Ban Thapchang (Thubchang Railway Station)
3) Wat Lanboon (Onnut Km 14, Lad Krabang)
4) Lad Krabang (Lad Krabang Railway Station - Transit to SRT Long Distance service - will branch out into 2 lines - one to Nong Ngoohao International Airport and the other to Chachoengsao)
5) Nong Nogghao (The airport will be opened around 2006)

International Airport
6) Chachoengsao (Chachoengsao Junction)

SRT long distance passenger/freight services - Northern corridor
1) Rangsit (Rangsit Railway Station)
2) Donmuang Airport (Donmuang Railway Station - opposite to the International Terminal which will become an airport for cargo and chartered flight services after Nong Ngoo Hao Airport becomes the only Bangkok International Airport for services - transit to MRTA Blue line, SRT Long Distance Service)

SRT long distance passenger/ freight services - Eastern corridor
1) Hua Lamphong (Bangkok Railway Station - transit to MRTA Blue line, SRT Long Distance Service)
2) Asoke (Transit to MRTA Blue line, MRT and SRT long distance services)
3) Hua Mark (Hua Mark Railway Station - transit to MRT service, end of SRT commuter line)
4) Chachoengsao (Chachoengsao Junction)

SRT long distance passenger/ freight services - proposed future Western Corridor
1) Bangsue 1 (Bangsue Junction - Connecting MRTA Blue line, MRT and SRT long distance services - should be underground)
2) Talingchan (Talingchan junction - Transit to SRT long distance services)
3) Nakhon Pathom (Nakhon Pathom Railway Station)

Note: I though that the reason behind the SRT appeal to the cabinet not to enforce the underground rule is that this rule will bar BTSC from  becoming a private firm that runs the MRT as well as SRT commuter services. The thinking being that BTSC could not deal with running a subway. Even the Skytrain has nearly bankrupts the company. They will need to wait for 10 years to break even.

Park and Ride - From Skytrain, Chaophraya River, and Chatuchak Weekend Market
- Anusarn Or Sor Thor (Tourist Authority of Thailand [TAT] Journal), May, 2000

        BTS Skytrain has cooperated with Park Safe Thailand Co. Ltd. to create a park and ride facility in front of Sukhumvit 81 - near Gate C of Onnut Station which will take about 5 minutes to walk to from the station.
        Asia Park has a capacity to hold 400 cars in that area with a daily service at the rate 10 baht/hour, 30 baht/day if parking more than 3 hours. Furthermore, there is a monthly option for using park and ride if you use this facility very often - 600 baht/month if you park ONLY during the weekdays and 850 baht/month if you use this parking lot in daily basis.
        This Park and ride facility will have security guards and computerized parking systems. Those who want to use this service should call (02) 934-7427-9 and (02) 333-0933 for more information.

Solving Skytrain Problems
- From Footnote Thailand, Thairath, May 13, 2000

        So far, the Skytrain has not been fully utilized since BMTA bus and SRT train services haven't been adjusted to feed passengers to the Skytrain and vice versa.
        During the ceremony to start the construction of Rama VIII Bridge on May 8, HM The King mentioned the deserted Hopewell project that SRT should utilize the abandoned concrete piles to elevate the rail tracks. Furthermore, HM The King advised the SRT to follow the Swiss Railway Authority model to improve the transportation around Bangkok Metropolitan Area.
        This revival plan for the Hopewell Project will not only solve troublesome problems about the rail crossing (roads vs. railways), but it will also become a major transport route to downtown Bangkok for those who live around Rangsit and the Hua Mark area.  Later on, this Hopewell line will extend to Nong Ngoo Hao Airport  (His Majesty will come to perform a cornerstone laying ceremony at this airport around December 2000).
        The last but not least significant benefits for the revival of this project is that Hopewell line will cross the Skytrain and subway lines at Phyathai, Asok, Bangsue and later on at Wongwian Yai, Phan Fah, Dusit, and Hua Lamphong which will enable suburban people to travel into the city center without driving.
        For BTS Skytrain problems, bus stops must be closer to Skytrain platform stairs or even better, the bus lines must be adjusted to feed the Skytrain or better still the bus and Skytrain tickets should be interchangeable.

Park and Ride - From Turning Right for Traffic Correction
- Thairath, May 15, 2000
Lom Hua Pingpong

        The first Park and Ride facility for the Skytrain has been officially opened close to Queen Sirikit Park, Kampaengphet 3 Road, near Chatuchak Park. BMA expects this park and ride facility to ease the traffic problem around Chatuchak Weekend Market, Chatuchak Park, and Morchit station since this facility will be able to hold about 1700 cars (around June 2000).  During this promotion period, BMA will run free trams to send the passenger to the market, the parks, and the Skytrain station. Therefore, those who drive around those area should try parking their cars in the facility and riding Skytrain to downtown Bangkok.
        Mr. Hua Pingpong hopes that the number of Skytrain passengers will be boosted after waiting for five months for this park and ride facility to become a reality.
        For those who live around Onnut-Samrong area, there is another park and ride facility run by a private firm (Asia Park). Drivers will have to pay 30 baht a day to park a car in this facility.
        MRTA better start the construction of the Park and Ride facility at Ladphrao 21 as soon as possible - after Dusit Thanee Hotel refused to let MRTA to use its area to construct park and Ride facility. MRTA should not wait until after opening like BTS to start the construction of Park and Ride.

Park and Ride Opened at Queen Sirikit Park near Morchit Station
- Thairath, May 13, 2000

        Mr. Wirat, Director of Chatuchak Weekend Market said the park and ride will open on May 14 near Queen Sirikit Park, Kamphaengphet 3 Road. The first section of this park and ride will carry 300 cars and the second section will be able to carry about 1000 cars a day. However, the second section will be opened around early June. Drivers can park their cars without paying any fees for a whole day and night.
        During a promotion period, BMA will run two shuttle trams as a loop for free to pick and send passengers to Chuatuchak Weekend Market, Mochit Station, Rotfai Park. The trams will run from 9 AM to 6 PM and they will carry 40 passengers for each tram. This park and ride facility will help those who come to Chatuchak Park, Chatuchak Weekend Market and Skytrain to find a place to park and their cars.

BMTA Urging BTSC to Run Feeder Buses
- Dailynews, May 8, 2000

        BMTA is urging BTSC to run air-conditioned buses to feed the Skytrain by this June or BMTA will revoke the concession granted to Bangkok Transit Feeders Co. Ltd. (BTSC's subsidiary) and give the concession to another private company. So far, BTSC hasn't started the bus services yet despite the strict schedule in the the concession (starting feeder buses by December 1999 and getting all 13 feeder lines operational by June 2000).
        BMTA said there will be no problems even though no private firms have offered to take over the concession since BMTA will put enough buses to feed Skytrain, and too much competition will put BMTA at loss. The best way to deal with this problem is to readjust the bus routes to run the buses across like a chessboard - not to compete with each other to ensue maximum efficiency and maximum profits.

Split Opinion on Skytrain Extension Bids
- April 7, 2000

       After the meeting of the committee for BTS Extension Projects, City Clerk Prasert Samalapha said the committee is split--with some supporting BTSC (the present Skytrain operator) and the others supporting open bids from other private firms to construct the extension lines. Those who support BTSC contend it will be easier to connect the rails, use the stations, and collect fares if present Skytrain operator BTSC gets permission to extend the lines. However, those who support an open bid from other firms feel it is necessary to get the opinions from other firms since the extension projects have to deal with lots of money. BTSC may not be ready to finance and undertake these projects since BTSC has reportedly lost heavily on the first section of the Skytrain project.
       Due to the differing opinions, Prasert Samalapha said the committee has asked the engineering consultant for these projects clarify
this issues and be ready for another meeting in two weeks. Nevertheless, the contract between BMA and the BTSC said that if BMA calls
for an open bid, the company who wins the bid must get an approval from BTSC as well. (from Thai Post Daily, April 6, 2000)

More Skytrain Elevators

    Thai Post Daily reports that the BTSC and BMA are going to install 12 escalators from the ground level to ticket booth level at 10 stations (Morchit, Victory Monument, Phayathai, Ratchathwee, Asok, Onnut, Saladaeng, Chong Nonsee, Surasak, and Taksin). I can testify for that since I have seen the BTSC workers moving the old stairs out and a sign saying that the installation of the escalators will be done in June 2000.
Passengers Falling
    BTSC have better make 25%/35% discount permanent discounts since the number of passenger keeps falling: 171,310 passengers a day in December, 145,170 passengers a day in January, and 135,710 passengers a day in February.  BMA people are trying to help BTSC boost the number of passengers by facilitating the legal and business affairs to speed up the extensions process, managing buses to feed the Skytrain lines, and employing more PR to meet the goal of 4-600,000 passengers a day or at least half of that amount.
Fountain Systems
    Furthermore, BMA asked BTSC to install a fountain system to trap dust particles and reduce air pollution. One is now testing at Ratchathewee Station and with plans to install more at other major stations.
Speed Pill Dealers Annoy Passengers
    The Police Department is furious and has ordered agents to track down speed pill dealers after hearing the reports from BTSC that dealers had harassed student passengers at Siam, Ratchadamri, Saladaeng, Chong Nonsee, Surasak, and Taksin Stations. BTSC, BMA, and the Police Department may have to install Closed Circuit TV systems and hotlines to police stations. The Ministry of Education may also send Student Police to catch those delinquents in the trains and stations.
(from Thai Post)

Proposed High-speed Mae Klong Rail Line Map (Thai only)
March 11, 2000 Click here for a Thai-language map (70 K) of the proposed high-speed Mae Klong rail line. It has been made as small as possible for download, so it is a bit grainy, but everything is readable and it is still a beautiful map. We hope we live long enough to see it made a reality! Click here for more info on this project (as reported on this site in February, 2000).

Skytrain Bus Line Map (Thai only)
March 11, 2000
Click here for a Thai-language map (44.6 K) of the Skytrain bus lines.

Transport Master Plan
- March 9, 2000
      OCMLT told both AEI (the company that wants to construct the high speed train from Pak Tho to Donmuang) and MRTA (they want to revitalize the Hopewell project - BTSC's subsidiary) to wait until the revised master plan for mass transit projects is finished in eight months. During that time, OCMLT asks all the companies involved in ongoing and proposed mass transit projects to cooperate with one another so they can share the rails and depots as well as other facilities to reduce construction costs. The economic downturn and the collapse of Hopewell project has caused OCMLT to come up with a revised master plan to replace the one approved by the cabinet on September 27, 1994. Bangkok Master Plan
        The other 11 minor mass transit lines will be light rail lines, except the ones running in downtown Bangkok which will be "monorail" lines instead. The 11 minor lines will carry 5,000-20,000 passengers/hour/direction while the 5 major lines will carry 40,000 passengers/hour/direction.

Feeder line info:
1) Sri Nakharin Line - From Sri Nakharin Road (Lam Salee and Sri Nakharin intersection - North) to Onnut Road (Sukhumvit 77), Phra Khanong - Klongtan Road (Sukhumvit 71) to Ramkhamhaeng University (the Largest Open University in the World) - near Wat Thepleela Lane (Ramkhamhaeng 39).  This line will pass through Unilever Thai holding Co. Ltd., Wat Mahabut (Maenak Phrakhanong shrine), NASA Spacedrome Disco.

This line will connect with MRTA Orange Line at Ramkhamhaeng Station, BTSC green line at Sri Nakharin and Onnut Station, and SRT red line at Ramkhamhaeng (AKA Sukhumvit 71) and Hua Mark Station.  This line will belong to BMA - 22.4 km - 22 stations.

2) Samut Prakarn Line - From Sri Nakharin Road (Sri Nakharin Intersection - South), Sukhumvit and Thepharak Road.  This line will pass through suburb villages, industrial zones around Paknam (Samut Prakarn) area as well as Naval Academy and Naval Museum and end up at downtown Paknam.

This line will connect with MRTA Orange line at Samrong Tai Station and BTSC green line at Sri Nakharin and Samrong Tai Intersection. This line will belong to Samut Prakarn Provincial Hall - 16.2 km - 9 stations.

3) Rat Boorana Line from Prachauthit Road and the road under the 1st stage Expressway. This line will go to King Mongkut University of Technology Thonburi (AKA Techno Bang Mod) and Suan Thonburirom Park. It will end up meeting the Rama III line at Rama IX Bridge Station.

The Expressway Authority of Thailand (ERT) will be the owner of this 9.2-Km line with 9 stations along the line. This line will connect with MRTA Orange line at Rat Boorana Station.

4) Chaeng Watthana Line from Pakkret to Minburi via Chaeng Watthana to Minburi Flea Market. This line will pass the AMD chip factory, Krisdanakhon and Maungthong Thanee village, the 2nd Infantry Battalion - Royal Guard, Supreme Commander Headquarters, 1st Anti-Aircraft Regimen, CAT and TOT headquarters, Rajabhat Institute of Phranakhon, RTA Golf Field, Lad Pla Khao, Khannayao, Fashion Island, Siam Park, Bangchan Industrial Estate, and Minburi Intersection.

This line will belong to BMA and connect with MRTA purple line at Chaeng Watthana station and SRT red line at Laksi station - 26.9 km 27 stations.

5) Rama III Loop connecting the BTSC Green Line from Chong Nonsee Station to Taksin Bridge Station. This line will pass through Wat Phomaen (one of famous Chinese temples in Bangkok), Wat Dokmai, Rama IX Bridge, Bangkok Bridge, Wat Don Cemetery (now becoming a public park), Bangkok Dock (the oldest dockyard still in the business - founded in 1864), and Wat Suthawararam.

This line will be 17.2 km long and have 18 stations. So far, only Chong Nongsee - Sadhupradit Pier line (8.5 km - 9 stations) is approved by the cabinet. We'll wait and see if the BTSC will sign the contract with the BMA (the owner of the line) around May 2000 before the expiration of Dr. Bhijit's term as Bangkok governor.  The trend shows that BTSC will sign the contract with the BMA so the company can gain more passengers from other areas.

6) Klong Lad Phrao Line - going from Klong Tan (the end of Lad Phrao canal) to Lam Lookka intersection of the Eastern Outer Ring Road. This line will pass through the neighborhoods and suburb villages along both banks of this canal as well as some significant place such as Wat Lad Phrao, Wat Bangbua, Saphan Mai Flea Market (AKA Yingcharoen Flea Market), Royal Thai Air Force area, Wat Ko, and Lamlookka area.

This line will be 26.1 km - 26 stations, belong to BMA and connect with MRTA Orange line at MRTA Depot.

7) Charansanitwongse Line - going along Ratchadapesiek Inner Ring Road (including the whole Charansanitwongse Road) from Mahaisawan Intersection to Northern Bangkok Power Plant in Bang Kruay.

This line will be 14.5 km long with 15 stations belonging to BMA and connect with MRTA Blue line at Tha Phra Station, MRTA Ornage Line at Mahaisawan Station and SRT red line at Charansanitwongse Station.

8) City Center Loop - a monorail line running from Hua Lamphong, Debsirin Boy High School, Rama I Road, Phyathai Road, and Si Phraya Road and ending up at Si Phraya Pier - the busiest pier in Bangkok.

There will be 9 stations along the 6.4-km monorail line belonging to BMA which will be as follows:

8.1) Hua Lamphong - Bangkok Railway Station - connecting to the MRTA blue line
8.2) Debsirin - Debsirin Boy High School
8.3) Rama I - near Krasatsuek Bridge - connecting with SRT red line
8.4) Banthat Thong - Banthat Thong Intersection
8.5) National Stadium - connecting to the BTSC green line
8.6) Chulalongkorn - Chulalongkorn University - the oldest University in Thailand founded in 1916
8.7) Sam Yan - Sam Yan Intersection - connecting to the MRTA Blue line
8.8) Bang Rak - Bangrak District Office
8.9) Si Phraya - Si Phraya Pier

So far, the BMA has not proposed this project yet since the BMA does not have enough cash and financial resources to deal with it. Nevertheless, some of BMA governor candidates may want to realize this project by putting into his/her agenda - especially the would-be candidate like Mr. Samak Sunthorawet. However, it would be much better to wait until the revival of the SRT red line becomes reality (should be around 2010).

9) Bang Yai Line - going along Rattanathebet via Phrananklao Bridge to Bang Yai Intersection and then going along Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road to Talingchan on the left and Bang Buathong on the right.

This line will belong to Nonthaburi Provincial Hall. This 26.4-km line will connect with MRTA Blue line at Phra Nangklao Station and SRT red line at Talingchan Station.  It will have 26 stations along the line.

10) Bangchan Line - going from Ratchadaphisek Inner Ring Road at Ratchayothin Intersection to Land Phrao Road and Nawamin Road (Sukhaphiban 1) to Km 8 of Ram Indra Road.  There is also a branch from Sukhaphiban 1 to Kaset area along with the constructed Kaset-Sukhaphiban 1 Road.

This 33.1 km line will have 33 stations and connect with BTSC green line at Ratchayothin Station and MRTA blue line at Land Phrao Station. Since many Bangkokians ask the BTSC to extend to Bang Kapi area, this will a good line to start up since this line will belong to BMA. However, it will become very enormous task for the company to do so since the company needs to construct the Northern Extension via Ratchayothin Intersection first (via Ladphrao flyover) and then the construction of Bangchan line via Ram Indra-Atnarong Expressway and Bang Kapi Flyover later on. Magic Land owners will close its theme park at Lad Phrao area and move all the theme park machines to the new location at Dream World in Rangsit area (along the Rangsit - Nakhon Nayok road) in early June 2000 - so think about it!

11) Ram Indra Line - going along the road under Ram Indra-Atnarong Expressway (Pridee Banomyong and Luang Pradit Manootham Road) to the intersection between Rama IX and Ram Khamhaeng Road.

This 10.4 km line will have 10 stations and connect with MRTA Orange line at Ratchataphak Collage Station.

Finance - NESDB suggest BTSC to divide build Skytrain extensions into 2 phases
from Thaipost, February 29, 2000

       Mr. Khiree successfully got support from the Chinese government for the joint-venture construction of BTS extensions. If the construction finishes, the Chinese government will extend the grace period for 5 years and 1.5%  annual loan interest later on. Chinese government also has strong interest to deal with Hopewell revival with a US$ 2-3 billion loan, and the government is ready to cooperate with Mr. Gordon Woo in this matter. However, the Chinese government said they feel afraid that the Chuan government is pro-American-- the Chuan cabinet might reject the extension projects as well as the Hopewell revival and thus collapse the BTSC deal.
       Finance - NESDB suggests that BTSC build the Silom-Sukhumvit extensions first and then Rama III extensions later on - depending on the readiness of private sector and the amount of potential passengers so the projects will not become burdens on the government's back later. Minister of Finance also asks the OCLMT to set up a Mass Transit Policy Committee to make Mass Transit policies follows the same path in the whole country before realizing the mass transit projects as well as the policies on mass transit service quality and prices of both mass transit projects which are under two different administrations. Ministry of Finance also tells OCLMT to study actual potential passengers from the extension projects to prevent the concession holders from losing money.
       If the extension projects are approved, BMA  and BTSC will negotiate the conditions of the contract. If the deal between BTSC and BMA collapses, BMA will ask for other contractors to do the jobs. BTSC is going to issue 400 million shares totaling 4 billion baht (about US$ 100 million) for an IPO.

BMA issues the resolution that the senior citizens and the pregnant women can use elevators for the handicapped
- from Thaipost issue February 29, 2000

        Mr. Theerachai Manomaiphiboon, deputy governor of Bangkok, told Thaipost that BTSC committee issued the resolution that the senior citizens and pregnant women can use 11 elevators for the handicapped installed at Mochit, Siam, Chong Nonsee, Onnuj, and Asok stations.  BMA also said that there is someone who is going to offer 54 more elevators in addition to the escalators the BTSC is going to invest in. Both additional escalators and elevators will cost BMA 100 million baht (US$ 2.5 million). BTSC will also transfer the green area along the line to BMA for maintenance, but BMA needs to install fences to prevent people from trampling the grass, flowers and small trees.
       BMA also asks BTSC to extend the 25-35% discount campaign to the end of April.  BMA is also negotiating with Department of Treasury to construct a Park and Ride facility on the abandoned land in front of Mochit Station.

Deciding the Gauge & Extensions Schedule
- from Thaipost, March 1, 2000

        The cabinet approved the Skytrain extensions, but it is necessary to take NESDB's comments (two construction phases and 10-40 baht ticket fee) into account to minimize the construction and operating cost. The Environment Protection Committee suggests that the extensions should use a meter gauge instead of the standard 1.435-meter gauge for better ventilation. However, BTS is unlikely to follow the suit since it will cause inconvenience in transferring the passengers from one line to another and dual gauges will add more operation cost than using a single gauge system. The proposal for the installation of escalators for the handicapped at all the stations along the new lines may also be rejected. BTSC considers installing only in stations that have a high number of passengers (e.g. Taksin, Bang Na, and Samrong Tai stations).
      BTSC and BMA will have a discussion about these matters next week. If the negotiation fails, BMA will find someone else to carry out these projects. The Taksin and Samrong extensions will be done within three years (should be finished around December 2002 - to celebrate 75th Birthday of His Majesty and to serve people living on Thonburi side and industrial workers in Paknam-Samrong area respectively) and Rama III extensions will be done within five years (should be finished around August 2004 to celebrate 72th Birthday of Her Majesty and to serve people in the new economic zone of Rama III). BMA will join with NESDB, the Attorney General Bureau, OCLMT, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Interior to draft the contracts for these extension projects which will be done within 3 months. BTSC said the extensions will raise the commuters to reach 600,000 passengers a day from the current 200,000 passengers a day and the company invited Bank of China and Metro China to co-invest in these projects.

Elevator Donation & Hopewell Plans
- from Matichon Daily, March, 2000

The South Korean Government donated 54 elevators to BMA to install at all Skytrain stations. Probably they will donate 54 Hyundai or LG elevators.  However, both BMA and BTSC have to pay 100 million baht for the installation.
      The government is considering about the plan to link BTSC with the suspended Hopewell projects since both projects use the standard 1.435-meter gauge. If it is feasible to do so, it will enable the Skytrain to gain many more passengers from the Rangsit and Hua Mark area and be a great boon for the company.  Mr. Pradit Phattharaprasit (Deputy minister of Transportation and Communication) is responsible for this Hopewell revival plan. The minister has met with the BTSC, Siemens, Bank of China and Shanghai Metro to discuss the Hopewell revival plan.  According to the plan, the government will have to carry the construction cost of 60 billion baht (about US$ 1.5 billion) but the Bank of China will lend a cheap loan (1.5% interest) with a grace period (interest free) for 5 year. The company will ask for 50-year concession for the Hopewell project and it will take 3-4 years to finish.
      The company will invest about 230 billion baht (about US$ 5.75 billion) in this revival project.  For the Hopewell tollway fee, the passenger will pay a 30 baht flat rate. For the elevated train from Rangsit to Huamark, the passengers will pay 10 baht for the initial fee and an additional 1 baht/km fee - up to 40 baht for a line. The line will go along the proposed routes (Rangsit-Yommarat, Yommarat-Hua Mark, Yommarat-Hua Lamphong and Maenam line -> to Port Authority of Thailand).

11 Minor Mass Transit Lines
- from Manager Weekly (http://www.manager.co.th), March 6-12, 2000

      Most of these lines will be elevated light rails except the City Center Loop which will be a monorail line due to the narrow space. These 11 feeder lines will carry the passenger at the range of 5,000-20,000 passengers/hr/direction (5 major mass transit lines will carry 40,000 passengers/hr/direction). The total length of line will be 208.7 km with the station in every 800-2,000 meters (800 meters in downtown area, 1 km in Bangkok metro areas and 2 km at Bangkok Suburb areas - Nonthaburi, Pathumthanee and Samutprakarn). The total number of stations will be 204 stations, with 28 junctions to the 5 major mass transit lines. The total cost  for the construction will be 257,544 million baht (around US$ 6.5 billion).

1) Sri Nakharin Line - from Sri Nakharin Road (Lam Salee and Sri Nakharin intersection - North) to Onnut Road (Sukhumvit 77), Phra Khanong - Klongtan Road (Sukhumvit 71) to Ramkhamhaeng University (the Largest Open University in the World) - near Wat Thepleela Lane (Ramkhamhaeng 39). This line will connect with MRTA Orange Line at Ramkhamhaeng Station, BTSC green line at Sri Nakharin and Onnut Station, and SRT red line at Ramkhamehaeng (AKA Sukhumvit 71) Station. This line will belong to BMA - 22.4 km - 22 stations.

2) Samut Prakarn Line - From Sri Nakharin Road (Sri Nakharin Intersection - South), Sukhumvit and Thepharak Road.  Connecting with MRTA Orange line at Samrong Tai Station and BTSC green line at Sri Nakharin and Samrong Tai Intersection.  This line will belong to Samut Prakarn Provincial Hall - 16.2 km - 8 stations.  This line will pass through suburb villages, industrial areas around Paknam (Samut Prakarn) area as well as Naval Academy.

3) Rat Boorana Line from Prachauthit Road and the road under the 1st stage Expressway. This line will connect with MRTA Orange line at Rat Boorana Station - 9.2 Km - 9 stations. This line will go to King Mongkut University of Technology Thonburi (AKA Techno Bang Mod). Expressway Authority of Thailand (ERT) will be an owner of this line.

4) Chaeng Watthana Line from Pakkret to Minburi via Chaeng Watthana to Minburi Flee Market. This line will connect with MRTA purple line at Chaeng Watthana station and SRT red line at Laksi station - 26.9 km about 20 stations. This line will pass AMD factory, Maungthong Thanee, the 2nd Infantry Battalion - Royal Guard, Supreme Commander Headquarters, CAT and TOT headquarters, Rajabhat Institute of Phranakhon, RTA Golf Field, Lad Pla Khao, Khannayao, Fashion Island, Siam Park, Bangchan Industrial Estate, and Minburi Intersection. This line will belong to BMA.

5) Rama III Loop connecting the BTSC Green Line from Chong Nonsee Station to Taksin Bridge Station - 17.2 km - 17 stations.  So far, only Chong Nongsee - Sadhupradit Pier line (8.5 km - 9 stations) is approved by the cabinet.  We will wait and see if the BTSC will sign the contract with BMA (the owner of the line) around May 2000 before the expiration of Dr. Bhijit's term as Bangkok governor. The trend suggests that BTSC will sign the deal with BMA so the company can gain more passengers from other areas.

6) Klong Lad Phrao Line - going from Klong Tan (the end of Lad Phrao canal) to Lam Lookka intersection of the Eastern Outer Ring Road.  Connecting with MRTA Orange line at MRTA Depot.  This line will be 26.1 km - around 20 stations, belonging to BMA. This line will pass through the neighborhoods and suburb villages along both banks of this canal as well as some significant place such as Wat Lad Phrao, Wat Bangbua Wat Ko, Saphan Mai Flee Market.

7) Charansanitwongse Line - going along Ratchadaphisek Inner Ring Road (including the whole Charansanitwongse Road) from Mahaisawan Intersection to Northern Bangkok Power Plant in Bang Kruay 14.5 km - 15 stations. This line will connect with MRTA Blue line at Tha Phra Station, MRTA Ornage Line at Mahaisawan Station and SRT red line at Charansanitwongse Station.

8) City Center Loop - a monorail line running from Hua Lamphong, Debsirin Boy High School, Rama I Road, Phyathai Road, and Si Phraya Road and ending up at Si Phraya Pier - the busiest pier in Bangkok. There will be 9 stations along the 6.4-km monorail line:

8.1) Hua Lamphong - Bangkok Railway Station - Connecting with MRTA blue line here
8.2) Debsirin - Debsirin Boy High School
8.3) Rama I - near Krasatsuek Bridge - Connecting with SRT red line here
8.4) Banthat Thong - Banthat Thong Intersection
8.5) National Stadium - Connecting with the BTSC green line here
8.6) Chulalongkorn - Chulalongkorn University - the oldest University in Thailand
8.7) Sam Yan - Sam Yan Intersection - Connecting with MRTA Blue line here
8.8) Bang Rak - Bangrak District Office
8.9) Si Phraya - Si Phraya Pier

So far, the BMA has not proposed this project yet since the BMA does not have enough cash and financial resources to deal with it. Nevertheless, some of BMA governor candidates may want to realize this project by putting into his/her agenda - especially the would-be candidate like Mr. Samak Sunthorawet. However, it would be much better to wait until the revival of the SRT red line becomes reality (should be around 2010).

9) Bang Yai Line - going along Rattanathebet via Phrananklao Bridge to Bang Yai Intersection and then going along Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road to Talingchan on the left and Bang Buathong on the right.  This line will belong to Nonthaburi Provincial Hall. This 26.4-km line will connect with MRTA Blue line at Phra Nangklao Station and SRT red line at Talingchan Station.  It will have about 15 stations along the line.

10) Bangchan Line - going from Ratchadaphisek Inner Ring Road at Ratchayothin Intersection to Land Phrao Road and Nawamin Road (Sukhaphiban 1) to km 8 of Ram Indra Road. This 33.1 km line will have 33 stations and connect with BTSC green line at Ratchayothin Station and MRTA blue line at Land Phrao Station.

Since many Bangkokians ask the BTSC to extend to Bang Kapi area, this will a good line to start up since this line will belong to BMA. However, it will become very enormous task for the company to do so since the company needs to construct the Northern Extension via Ratchayothin Intersection first (via Ladphrao flyover) and then the construction of Bangchan line via Ram Indra-Atnarong Expressway and Bang Kapi Flyover later on. Magic Land owners will close its theme park at Lad Phrao area and move all the theme park machines to the new location at Dream World in Rangsit area (along the Rangsit - Nakhon Nayok road) in early June 2000 - so think about it!

11) Ram Indra Line - going along the road under Ram Indra-Atnarong Expressway (Pridee Banomyong and Luang Pradit Manootham Road) to the intersection between Rama IX and Ram Khamhaeng Road. This 10.4 km line will have 10 stations and connect with MRTA Orange line at Ratchataphak Collage Station.

********

The list of stations for New Maeklong line connecting Paktho with Hua Lamphong will be as follows:

01) Hua Lamphong 2 - underground station at Nopphawongse Police Station - a station that connect both high speed rail and suburb commuter lines together
02) Klong Sarn - underground station under development to allow high speed rail to pass and commuter line to stop. It will at the place where Klongsan station used to be (Now, it become a depot of BMTA bus No.3)
03) Wongwian Yai - underground station under development to allow high speed rail to pass and commuter line to stop.
04) Phonimit - Local station for commuter train
05) Klong Tonsai - Local station for commuter train - near Talard Ploo
06) Jomthong - Local station for commuter train
07) Wat Sai - Local station for commuter train
08) Wat Singha - Local station for commuter train
09) Bang Bon - Local station for commuter train near Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road
10) Karn Kheha (Bang Khunthian) - Local station for commuter train
11) Rang Sakae - Local station for commuter train
12) Rang Pho - Local station for commuter train
13) Sam Yaek - Local station for commuter train near Ekkachai Road
14) Ban Phromdaen - Local station for commuter train, near the boundary pole between Bangkok and Samut Nakhon
15) Thung Seethong - Local station for commuter train
16) SRT Worker Housing - Local station for commuter train
17) Bang Namjuead - Local station for commuter train
18) Kauk Kwai - elevated station that connect both high speed rail and suburb commuter line together.
19) Ban Khauk - a junction that go to Mahachai station and Tha Chalom Station
20) Klong Jak - Local station for commuter train to Mahachai Station
21) Mahachai - elevated station under development to allow commuter line to stop in downtown Samut Sakhon.
22) Ban Laem - Local station for commuter train, famous for Luangpho Banlaem Buddha Image
23) Tha Chalom - Local station for commuter train, famous for a fishing pier for fishermen
24) Ban Cheephakhao - Local station for commuter train
25) Bang Si khot - elevated station that connect both high speed rail and suburb commuter line together.
26) Bang Krajao - Local station for commuter train
27) Ban Bo - Local station for commuter train
28) Bang Thorat - Local station for commuter train
29) Bang Kalong - Local station for commuter train
30) Na Kwang - Local station for commuter train
31) Na Khok - Local station for commuter train
32) Khet Muang - Local station for commuter train, city limit of Samut Songkhram
33) Lad Yai - elevated station that connect both high speed rail and suburb commuter line together.
34) Bang Kraboon - Local station for commuter train and a junction to go to Pak Tho
35) Mae Klong - elevated station under development to allow commuter line to stop in downtown Samut Songkhram.
36) Proposed Local Train Station
37) Proposed Local Train Station
38) Proposed Local Train Station
39) Proposed Local Train Station
40) Pak Tho - elevated station that connect both high speed rail and suburb commuter line together.

Japanese Firm to make a Master Plan
From Bangkok Post - February 18, 2000
      OCLMT will sign a 50-million baht contract with Pacific Consultants International--a Japanese consortium--next Thursday for the updated Bangkok mass transit master plan which will be done within 8 months. The updated plan will have the BTS lines, MRTA lines, the moribund Hopewell lines, suburban trains, and feeder lines to create an effective mass transit network. The contract payment comes from Japan Bank of International Cooperation (AKA OECF funds).
      The consultant consortium also includes Wilbur Smith Associates from the US, Railway Technical Service from Japan, and Asian Engineering Consultants Corp, Tesco Ltd and TransConsult Co from Thailand. The OCLMT wants to see mass transit systems share their facilities, including tracks, to reduce overall operational costs. This updated master plan will not duplicate the SRT (State Railway of Thailand) plan to revive the Hopewell project since OCLMT takes charge of the overall plan while SRT (with Team Consultant) takes charge of the details. The SRT hired Team Consultant on October 28, 1999, for about 81 million baht to study the revival of the Hopewell project. The study is due for completion by July 26.
        Charnchai Anantasate, director of the SRT's special program development department, said the company was looking into the old details of the Hopewell project before judging the feasibility of a new version of the scheme. SRT contracted the firm to study the feasibility of a new Hopewell route, about 50 km, from Rangsit via Hua Lampong (actually Yommarat) to the new Bangkok international airport in Nong Ngu Hao.
       The BTS said at the BOI Fair that BTS will join with Siemens and Shanghai Metro Co. td. to put a skytrain line on the part where Hopewell was supposed to run an elevated train with a junction to skytrain tracks at Phayathai Station.  This is probably one reason that BTS declined to make an extension from Onnut to NongNgoo Hao Airport.

Concession at Old Mor Chit Terminal at Risk
From Bangkok Post - February 18, 2000
       Sun Estate Co must pay the Bangkok Mass Transit System Co (BTSC) 770 million baht this month or risk losing its concession for the commercial complex at the old Mor Chit bus terminal on Phahon Yothin road.
       A Finance Ministry source said the demand had been made by a new Treasury committee set up to calculate how much Sun Estate should pay the Skytrain developer for the foundation level of the two-story train depot building. The site is also earmarked for extra floors in the future.
       The committee comprises representatives from the Siam Architects Association, the Engineering Institute of Thailand, the Public Works Department and the Treasury Department.
       It sent a demand for payment to Sun Estate last month, with a 30-day deadline, due this month.
       "If the company fails to pay, the Treasury Department can cite this as a reason to revoke the 30-year concession on the whole Mor Chit area. Under current economic conditions, Sun Estate is unlikely to find the money to pay," the source said.

Princess Sirindhorn Performing Official Naming Ceremony Next Monday
- Thai Post, February 18, 2000

      Princess Sirindhorn is going to perform the official royal naming ceremony for the Skytrain at 10:45 AM on February 21, 2000 - Siam Square Station. The Sukhumvit line will be named "The 6th Cycle Anniversary of His Majesty - Skytrain Line 1" (Rotfaifah Chaloemphrakiat 6 Raub Saai 1) and the Silom line will be named "The 6th Cycle Anniversary of His Majesty - Skytrain Line 2" (Rotfaifah Chaloemphrakiat 6 Raub Saai 2).  Both names come from His Majesty The King so they are very auspicious names.
      Deputy Ministry of Transportation and Communication Pradit Phatharaprasit said that the BTSC confirms to him that the company declined to make Nong Ngoo Hao Airport extension (Onnut Station to Nong Ngoo Hao Airport) since the line is not feasible to invest in. The BTS prefers the Samrong Extension instead. Nevertheless, SRT (State Railway of Thailand) already has a project to extend the line to Nong Ngoo Hao Airport by laying a 4-km double track from Lad Krabang Railway Station (near Rom Klao Road) to the airport.

The Skytrain Cannot Solve Traffic Jams
      After two months of service, the OCMLT concluded that the Skytrain has cut the car usage by only 40,000 cars out of 1 million cars in the Bangkok metro area--only a 4.8% reduction in daily car usage. BTS also carries only 160,000-180,000 passengers a day which is very low in comparison to mass transit projects in other countries. Therefore, OCLMT is planning a Park and Ride at Mo Chit area as well as developing mass transit networks to cut the car usage by 50%. The park and ride will be a 20-acre area at the former casting workshop of Don Muang Tollway, but OCMLT has to negotiate with the BMA and SRT--the owners of the area--so the construction of park and ride facility will be possible. OCMLT also plans to improve the road around Mo Chit Bus terminal to accommodate about 2,300 BMTA buses, microbuses, taxi cabs and shuttle vans.
         BTSC declined to send a delegate for a OCMLT meeting. However, the company said they will make a promotion campaign to boost the number of passenger by offering 25% discount for adult passengers and 35% discount for students younger than 21 (e.g for 25% discount -> paying 640 baht for a ticket but the ticket will show 800 baht--the ticket will be limited to 1000 baht total so the maximum payment would be 800 baht). This campaign will end on March 4, 2000.
      The BTS line and the expressway have caused a decline in condominium sales in downtown Bangkok (since people can get out of town easier) but has boosted rentals and sales in shopping malls in downtown Bangkok.

High-speed rail project proposed to SRT
By Choosak Jirasakunthai
Excerpted from the Nation, February 18, 2000.

     ASIA and Europe Industrial, a Thai transportation firm, has proposed a 40 billion baht high speed project on the Mae Klong line to the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) for consideration, said Suphol Civilize, president and chief executive officer of the company.
     The new high-speed train project would extend 150 kilometers from Hua Lumpong to Pak Tho in Ratchaburi province and cover the distance within half an hour.
.... It would also be linked to the other mass transit systems.
....
     The company had studied the project for 11 months, at a cost of more than 100 million baht. However, it began talks with the SRT almost 2 years before the result of the feasibility study - which was proposed to SRT for consideration three days ago.
     The company is now waiting for a green light from the SRT to begin construction and system management works.
....
     They were looking for concession from the government for 50 to 60 years.
     "The project is expected to break even within 22 years,'' he said.
     He expected 600,000 to 1 million passengers daily would use the project. They could travel from Hua Lamphong to Pak Tho within half an hour.
     The engineering consultant of the project is Canadian-based CPCS ,which was once the consultant for the high-speed train project in the US, TransAmerica.
     The main contractor for the project would be the second largest construction firm in Italy, Astaldi.
     The rail system would be managed by State Railway of Switzerland.
     Australian-based Lion Heart Consultant was the project's financial advisor of the project, he said.
     The first phase of the project was planned to be operational by April 2004 and the second, from Hua Lumphong, would be operational by September 2004.

     The rail system would be part of a Trans-Asia route, because the company also wanted to extend the system to Malaysia.

Updates from Thai Newspapers!
February 3, 2000
Fare Discounts
        BTS is going to have a 20% discount for normal passengers a 30% discount for students (stored value tickets of course!) to boost the number of customers effective in February 2000. Students will get special stored-value tickets imported from the US which will have distinctive forms and light up for a few seconds when using the tickets to prevent fraud by normal passengers.
Feeder Lines
        The 13 feeder bus lines will be in service around June or July 2000. These lines must allow the passengers to pay both bus and Skytrain fare (with swipe cards) on the bus so the feeder buses will add even more passengers to the Skytrain.
Skytrain "Down"
        On January 22, 2000 there was a "disconnection" between hardware and software of the BTS computer control systems causing a two-hour suspension of the service (from 11AM-1PM).  BTS is going to sue Siemens for this humiliating error.
Skytrain Weddings
        On Valentine's Day, 72 couples will be wed at Chong Nonsee station.  (Thai Post Daily, January 24-25, 2000).
Park and Ride
        BMA will create a Park and Ride in the open space in Queen Sirikit Park, a park situated between Chatuchak Park and Mo Chit 2 Bus terminal as a parking lot. There will be free shuttle vans going between this parking lot and Mo Chit station.  The lot will be opened on Valentine's Day 2000.
Skytrain Extensions
        The BMA news from Thai Post Daily (January 28, 2000) reports that the committee of 9 agencies (Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Finance, NESDB, Supreme Attorney, OCMLT, BMA and other 3 agencies) had an informal meeting to plan for the immediate start of the BTS extension project after receiving final approval from both the Cabinet and the Committee of National Environment Policies. The results from this informal meeting were that the fare rate should follow the old 10-40 baht rate and allow the BTS to construct the extensions without calling for a new bid for the contractor. However, the committee has to consult the Council of  State whether the BTS extension project is considered as the old BTS or new BTS project. If the Council of State considers this extension project as the old project, the old fare rate (10-40 baht) will be the mandatory for BTS to follow; otherwise, the BTS can issue the new fare rate.  If the old contractor (Italian-Thai PCL) cannot function as the contractor for this extension, it will be necessary to call a new bid.  BTS will submit the BTS extension plans to BMA in March 2000.

Skytrain Extension News - Line R

    According to ITV, BMA has designated the code for Rama III extension as "R", so the station list of this feeder line will be:

First Phase (Rama III Extension)
R1 Thung Mahamek
R2 Chan Road
R3 Yannawa
R4 Rama III
R5 Nonsee Road
R6 Wat Klong Mai
R7 Wat Dan
R8 Wat Pariwat
R9 Sathupradid Pier
Second Phase (just a proposed route)
R10 Wat Dokmai
R11 Rama IX Bridge
R12 Nuea-Tai Road
R13 Bang Khau Laem
R14 Thanon Tok
R15 Wat Phraya Krai
R16 Southern Bangkok District Court
R17 Wat Sutthiwararam


    Both ends of this feeder line are Saphan Taksin Station (S6) and Chong Nonsee Station (S3).

Skytrain Extensions Approved

- Thairath Daily (http://www.thairath.co.th), January 4, 2000, said that Saphaphat (National Economic and Social Development Board - http://www.nesdb.go.th) approved the BMA proposal to extend the BTS Skytrain lines with a total investment of 32.52 billion baht (US$ 813-929.14 million).

Extension Lines
1) Taksin Extension - 2.2 km, costing 4,568 million baht (US$114.2-130.5 million)
2) Samrong Extension - 8.9 km, costing 15,154 million baht (around US$378.85-432.97 million)
3) Rama II Extension (Feeder Line) - 8.5 km, costing 12,798 million baht (around US$319.95-365.66 million)

    It will take full 3 years to complete these three extension projects [2000-2002], with financial benefit of 13.89% and economic benefit of 17.20%. BMA will find investors for these projects with a 30-year concession. BTSC is the most likely investor for this project. Shanghai Bank in China has strong interest to finance this project.
    For the fare, BMA will use 10-40 baht rate -> first station, you pay 10 baht, and the payment increases 5 baht in every 2 stations until it reaches the maximum at 40 baht (from the 12th station to the end of line) - this is the same fare rate as the current BTS fare rate.

Samrong Extensions
     (BMA Proposed)
>From Mo Chit Station to
On Nut - 40 baht
Samphob Naruemit - 40 baht
Punnnawithee - 40 baht
Udomsuk - 40 baht
Bearing - 40 baht
Thepharak - 40 baht
Samrong Tai - 40 baht

>From Samrong Tai to
Thepharak - 10 baht
Bearing - 15 baht
Udomsuk - 15 baht
Punnnawithee - 20 baht
Samphob Naruemit - 20 baht
On Nut - 25 baht
Mo Chit - 40 baht

Rama III Extensions
     (BMA Proposed)
>From Mo Chit Station to
Chong Nonsee - 40 baht
Thung Mahamek - 40 baht
Chan Road - 40 baht
Yannawa - 40 baht
Rama III - 40 baht
Nonsee Road - 40 baht
Wat Klong Mai - 40 baht
Wat Dan - 40 baht
Wat Pariwat - 40 baht
Sathupradid Pier - 40 baht

>From Sathupradid Pier to
Wat Pariwat- 10 baht
Wat Dan - 15 baht
Wat Klong Mai - 15 baht
Nonsee Road - 20 baht
Rama III - 20 baht
Yannawa - 25 baht
Chan Road - 25 baht
Thung Mahamek - 30 baht
Chong Nonsee - 30 baht
Mo Chit - 40 baht

Taksin Extensions
     (BMA Proposed)
>From Mo Chit Station to
Taksin Bridge - 40 baht
Krung Thonburi - 40 baht
Wongwian Yai - 40 baht

>From Wongwian Yai Station to
Krung Thonburi - 10 baht
Taksin Bridge - 15 baht
Mo Chit - 40 baht

    The extension projects will require importation of materials and machines costing 12,458.30 million baht (US$311.46-355.95 million) but it is not expected to hurt the trade balance in the long run.

Long-Promised and Long-Delayed Handicapped Access Issues

- Thaipost (http://www.thaipost.net), January 5, 2000, stated that BMA is trying to convince BTSC to accept the seven proposals from the Handicapped Council of Thailand to facilitate access to the Skytrain. The 7 proposals are:

1) Every handicapped person can use the elevators without discrimination by showing the station officers their handicapped ID card.
2) 20 baht flat rate tickets. For the first phase, record the names of handicapped persons and then allow those persons to receive reimbursement from the Handicapped Council of Thailand. If there is very large number of handicapped persons using the Skytrain, the BTS should issue special tickets for them.
3) For the handicapped who require assistants to carry them, the assistants pay the normal rates.
4) The handicapped pay the special flat rate if they use the elevators. If they use the normal entrance they pay the normal rate.
5) Special space for the handicapped at the platforms should be provided with clear signs and signals as well as special surfaces to direct the blind.
6) BMA partially agrees that the senior citizens and those in late pregnancy (around 7-9 months) can use elevators if necessary.
7) Construction of roofs to cover the slopes from the front of elevators to the platforms to shield from rain and heat.

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