Bangkok Subway News – June-July 2004

Subway ridership figures & various notes - July 6, 2004
Wisarut reports: The statistics of the first 3 days of subway service are
July 3 - 45,000 passengers
July 4 - 200,000 passengers
July 5 - 150,000 passengers
Those who have joyrided and hung around the subway without going out for several hours will find that they have already inflicted suffering on other people who are waiting in long lines to get their turns including children who collapsed due to dehydration while they are waiting to buy a ticket and grumpy old men who have waited and ranted for generations to get a subway ride.
Passengers have hoarded many tokens for use in the future but are not supposed to do since there are 200,000 smart cards available.
Clumsy old men also complained that the turnstiles close too fast so they have to rely on the emergency gate to go in and go out.
MRTA also found that they have to adjust signs because confusing signs cause many people, especially the elderly, to puzzle about the gate they should go since to since some sections have very few sign while the other sections have too many signs.
SRT and MRTA better construct and finish Bangsue Park and Ride very soon since I have seen lots of cars at Bangsue Station blocking BMTA buses from picking up passengers directly from the gates. The measure to prevent abuses of the Park and Ride service will have to be imposed.
The installation of touchscreen TVMs which can accept banknotes will have to become a reality very soon to replace human exchanges. Additional handles inside the subway cars will help the passengers from slipping when the subway starts or stops.
The smart cards imported from Japan have 1 kbyte of memory--ready to carry data about the fare and ticket cost (from Thaipost - July 2, 2004). However, MRTA better consider the 30-day pass option as well as 1-day pass and 3-day pass for tourists in addition to the construction of new gates and connection via duct to the business buildings very soon.
Without direct viaduct to connect with the department stores and commercial buildings, MRTA won't be able to attract those business people and office ladies.
Without a 30-day pass, MRTA will not be able to fulfill those regular customers who act like a bunch of crybabies by asking MRTA to freeze the 10-bath flat rate ticket fee.

Handicapped people delighted with the subway system - translated and summarized from Thaipost, June 12, 2004
The handicapped and the senior citizens feel very delighted after using the Subway system.
The Ministry of Society and Human Resource Development invited 130 handicapped and the senior citizens from Social Welfare Houses to try using Subway (photos).
Major Sirichai Subsiri (the head of Thai Handicapped People Association) said there is no problem using the Subway system. The restrooms, the fire escape routes, the arrows pointing to the entrances and the exits as well as the security guards to assist the handicapped are adequate. It is a very good beginning compared to the inadequate elevators for the handicapped at the BTSC Skytrain stations and the red tape involved in using their elevators.
However, Mr Monthian Buntan (head of Thai Blind Peoples' Association) tells MRTA that MRTA has not installed the speaking TVMs to help the blind buying the tickets. The deaf would like to see running messages on LED monitors so that they could come to use Subway without asking their relatives and other passengers to help them. It should be a law to install facilities inside the bus, Skytrain and Subway stations for 5 types of people: the blind, the deaf, the handicapped, the retarded, and pregnant women, senior citizens, children and foreigners who can speak neither Thai nor English (Japanese and Korean expats are a few good examples).
Furthermore MRTA has not implemented reserved seats for the handicapped yet, thus they have to stand for about an hour at the platforms and wait to ride the subway. Those who have no wheelchairs and the senior people will have very hard time waiting for the subway.
Commentary by Wisarut: This should alert BTSC to install the elevators for the handicapped and senior people in all Skytrain Stations and dispense with the hassle of having to ask officers to turn on the elevators. Furthermore, the TVMs should be upgraded so that the TVMs can speak to the customers and accept 20, 50 and 100 baht banknotes.
KL STAR LRT (Malaysia) has smart card readers installed only in some stations while KL Putra has the smart card system in all stations. This has created lots of problems when the passengers try to exit stations on KL Star which have no smart card system. Therefore, BTSC may have to invest more on smart card system installation in all stations, not just the interchange stations.
KL Kommuter stations has station names written in English, Bahasa Melayu (only Rumi scripts [Romanized Melayu]--not Jawi scripts used in Pattani circle and Kelantan) and Japanese. Seoul Subway systems have the station names written in Korean, English and Japanese.
Therefore, it is logical to add station names in Japanese and Chinese, but the companies have to install additional signs to carry Japanese and Chinese characters.

Updated list of subway feeder busses and vans - translated and summarized from Thairath, July 2, 2004 & Dailynews, July 2, 2004
BMTA have rerouted the following lines (without changing the terminals) to serve the following stations
1) Bangsue Station
BMTA No. 9 - Phaseecharoen Pier - Sam Sen Railway Station
BMTA No. 50 - Rama 7 Pier - Chula Hospital
BMTA No. 52 - Pakkret - Bangsue Junction
[This BMTA No. 52 has monopolized Bangsue Junction terminal for too long - better have aircon or Euro 2 version to serve the Subway.]
BMTA No. 70 - Prachanivet 3 - Sanam Luang
BMTA No. 97 - Ministry of Public Health - Sangha Priest Hospital
BMTA No. 125 - Samsen Railway Station - Rattanakosin Somphoj School [Salaya]
BMTA No 134 [Special] - Bang Buathong - Bangsue Station
Furthermore, BMTA will set up the new bus lines to terminate at Bangsue Station:
BMTA No. 9 Phaseecharoen Pier -Bangsue Station
BMTA No. 50 Rama 7 Pier - Bangsue Station
BMTA No. 70 Prachanivet 3 - Bangsue Station
BMTA No. 97 Ministry of Public Health - Bangsue Station
BMTA No. 125 - Bangsue Station - Rattanakosin Somphoj School [Salaya]
BMTA No 134 [Special] - Bang Buathong - Bangsue Station
2) Kamphaengphet Station
BMTA No 77 - Sadhupradit Depot - Kamphaengphet Station
BMTA No 536 - Chatuchak Bus terminal - Expressway - Paknam (Aircon)
3) Lad Phrao Station
BMTA No 26 - Lad Phrao Station - Minburi
BMTA No 96 - Lad Phrao Station - Suan Siam (Siam Park)
BMTA No 185 - Lad Phrao Station - Phaholyothin - Rangsit
BMTA No 503 - Lad Phrao Station - Phaholyothin - Rangsit
BMTA No 504 - Lad Phrao Station - Vibhavadee Rangsit - Rangsit
4) Ratchadaphisek
BMTA Van 43 - Ram Khamhaeng U. - The Mall Ngam Wongwan
BMTA Van 43 - Thai Chamber of Commerce U. - Welco Ram Khamhaeng
BMTA Van 81 - Saphan Mai - MCOT
BMTA Van 110 - Chatuchak - Pravet
5) Huai Kwang Station
BMTA No 12 - Huai Kwang - Setthakarn (Ministry of Commerce) [4 Van lines to Ratchadaphisek will pass Huai Kwang station as well.]
6) Thailand Cultural center Station
BMTA 137 (Circle line) - Ram Khamhaeng U. - Thailand Cultural Center
BMTA 517 (Aircon) - Thailand Cultural Center - Lad Krabang
7) Phetburi Station Station
BMTA 93 - Seap Game Village - Phetburi Station
8) Queen Sirikit National Convention Center Station
BMTA 2 - Samrong - Queen Sirikit National Convention Center Station
BMTA 25 - Sai Luad Depot - Queen Sirikit National Convention Center Station
BMTA 501 - (Aircon) Minburi - Queen Sirikit National Convention Center Station
9) Samyan Station
BMTA 45 - Samrong - Rama 4 - Samyan Station


Drinking, spitting and photography in the subway prohibited - translated and summarized from Thairath, July 3, 2004
MOTC has come up with Ministry Regulations for the security and cleanliness within MRTA areas. The regulations were declared in Royal Gazette on June 29, 2004:
1. Prohibited
1.1) Noisy and annoying acts
1.2) Firearms and replica of firearms
1.3) Stinking materials
1.4) Heavy Luggage beyond the individual carrying items
1.5) Dangerous material
1.6) Spitting, smoking, drinking
1.7) Pinking plants and flowers around subway gates
1.8) Panhandling and asking for donations
1.9) Sexual harassment and other obscene acts
1.10) Standing or putting feet on the seats
1.11) Leaning on screen doors or subway doors
2. Activities which need permission
2.1) Leaving subway cars and walking along the tracks when the subway cars break down
2.2) Entering prohibited areas
2.3) Taking a pets into the subway stations (except guide dogs for the blind)
2.4) Hawking or selling materials or services inside the subway
2.5) Using materials that cause noise (e.g. mobile phones, soundabout)
2.6) Advertising or making announcements
2.7) Photographing or using video cameras
2.8) Taking bicycles or 2-wheeled vehicles inside the subway
Violators of this regulation can face 1 month in jail or a 1000 baht fine or both.
Security inside subway will be provided by the police, security guards, and other officers who have been empowered by Penal Codes according to MRTA governor, Ministry Regulations, and Article 62 of MRTA Act of BE 2543 to arrest violators before delivering them to the police and other officers.

Further subway notes - translated and summarized from Dailynews, June 24, 2004
Parking
...New parking lots at Samyan, Phetburi, Sukhumvit, Ratchadaphisek, Huai Kwang and Thailand Cultural Center will also opened in addition to a 2000-car Park and ride at Lad Phrao and 200-car park and ride at Thailand Cultural Center. The parking rate for Subway passengers is 2.5 baht/hour, 50 baht for the whole day form 5 am to midnight (no overnight stay allowed) as the way to cut down car usage by 30%. 10-30 baht/hour for those who are not subway passengers.
Mobile phones in the subway
BMCL insists that all mobile phone systems will be usable inside subway stations by the end of August 2004 despite of the complaints from DTAC. Furthermore, the new technology to allow the installation of the system to allow the mobile phones from all companies to use a single telecom line.
Passengers
The estimated daily passengers is 250,000.
Buying the subway
The price to pay for BMCL stock is nearly settled. However MRTA refuses to honor the debts owed by BMCL. Therefore the price for high section will be 4 baht/share instead of 3 baht/share. After merging BMCL with BTSC, there will be nationalization and then an IPO followed by bus improvement as feeders.
The allocation of stocks are:
1) Ch Karnchang PCL - 30%
2) Natural Park PCL - 24.7%
3) Domestic creditors - 17.5 km
4) BECL PCL - 15%
Registered capital - 7 billion baht
Debts - 12 billion baht
Note: Comment on the Subway Opening (in Thai)

18 Feeder buses for 7 subway stations running from 5am to midnight - translated and summarized from Khao Sod, June 23, 2004 and Manager Daily, June 23, 2004

1. Kamphaengphet Station
Line 77 - Terminal at Sadhupradit Depot via Silom and Pratoonam
Line 136 - Terminal at Sadhupradit Depot via Ratchadaphisek and Rama 3 Road.
Line 536 - (Aircon - Expresssway) Terminal at Paknam

2. Lad Phrao Station
Line 96 - Terminal at Siam Park via lad Phrao road and Serithai Road.
Line 179 - Terminal at Rama 7 Pier - via Ratchadaphisek and Wongsawang Road.
Line 185 - Terminal at Rangsit via Phaholyothin and Saphan Mai
Line 503 - Terminal at Rangsit via Phaholyothin and Saphan Mai
Line 504 - Terminal at Rangsit via Vibhavade Highway and SCB Park
Line 518 - Terminal at Rangsit via Phaholyothin and Saphan Mai

3. Huai Kwang Station
Line 12 - Terminal at Setthakarn (Ministry of Commerce at Tha Tian) via Ban Moh

4. Thailand Cultural Center
Line 11 - Terminal at Pravet via Hua Mark and Patthanakarn Road
Line 137 - Ram Khamhaeng Circle Route
Line 206 - Terminal at Sri Nakharin Depot via Seacon Square
Line 517 (Aircon) to King Monkut's Institute of Technology, Lad Krabang via Rama 9 Road, Phatthanakarn and Onnut.

5. Phetburi Station
Line 93 - Terminal at Seap Game Village - via Phatthanakarn and Hua Mark

6. Queen Sirikit National Convention Center Station
Line 2 - Terminal at Samrong Depot via Sukhumvit
Line 25 - Terminal at Sai Luad Depot via Paknam and Sukhumvit

7. Samyan Station
Line 45 - Terminal at Paknam via Sukhumvit, Phra Khanong and Rama 4

Cell phone signals in the subway - Bangkok Post, June 24, 2004
... cellphone users would be able to receive signals only on the ground level and ticketing floors until a mobile phone network covering subway platforms and tunnels is completed, probably in early August.

Buying the subway - translated and summarized from Khao Sod, June 23, 2004 and Manager Daily, June 23, 2004
The settlement on subway purchasing will be as follows:
25% sold at par (1 baht/share)
75% sold at premium (3 baht/share)
The government has to honor all the debts from BMCL. However, the BMCL Board of Directors and shareholders have to approve this plan first. MOTC is going to apply the same rule, after successfully asking KfW to make 40% cuts of BTSC debts.
This is part of the 500 billion baht investment on mass transit systems (91 km MRTA subway expansion, airport Link) and nationalization.


Fortune Town waiting for the benefits from the Subway - translated and summarized from Khao Sod, June 23, 2004
Mr Thaweesak Phoonthanet (the senior manager of CP Plaza Co.Ltd., the director for Fortune Town) said Fortune Town and IT City will receive the benefits from Subway since there will be 350,000 daily passengers going to Fortune Town via Rama 9 Station. This will boost the number of customers by 10-20% and IT Mall is the main target since it is the first time a subway has passes by an IT center in Thailand.
So far the weekdays customers of Fortune Town is 25,000 customers a day while the weekends customers are 30,000 customers a day.