In this article we will take a look at what the future holds for the BTS.
The Bangkok Mass Transit System, more commonly known as the Sky train or the BTS, currently serves 2 lines. The Sukhumvit line from Mo chit to Bearing operating northwards and eastwards and the Silom line from National Stadium to Bangwa…A total of 34 stations over a distance of 55 kilometres interchanging once at Siam. These 2 lines are estimated to serve over 600,000 passengers daily – a figure that continues to grow. Downtown traffic in Bangkok has always been a problem and the BTS and MRT (The Metropolitan Rapid Transit) system allow thousands of people to traverse the CBD daily relatively with no/little hassle. The first train departs at 6am and runs regularly until midnight. The MRT also runs in conjunction with the BTS: 6am till midnight daily. As of the 1st of March 2014, the BTS will trial a special service whereby trains will depart Mo Chit and Bearing at 5.15 and 5.30 respectively after heeding customers suggestions.
Many long term ex pats would have noticed the changes in the BTS lines over the years. The original lines of Sukhumvit, Mo Chit, On Nut and the Silom line National Stadium-Saphan Taksin opened on the 5th of December 1999. This was followed by an extension to the Silom line on the 15th of May 2009 – Saphan Taksin-Wong Wian Yai. The Sukhumvit line was not to be left behind and on the 12th of August 2011 the line was extended from On Nut to Bearing. The Silom line extension from Wong Wian Yai-Talat Phlu opened on the 12th of January 2013. A further final extension took place on the 5th of December 2013 in Wuttakat Rd- Bang Wa. The Airport Rail Link Owned by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) was also opened on August the 10th 2010 servicing an estimated 47,000 People daily over 28.6 kilometres. The route begins at Suvarnnabhumi Airport and ends at Phaya Thai where it interchanges with the BTS.
The appetite to continue extending has not stopped there. New lines are already under construction and already planned whilst others are under consideration. These are financed by the BTS Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund after approval from the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission in 2013. The IPO is expected to raise $2.1 billion – the largest amount in the history of Thailand. As well as the BTS the MRT is also extending as well as the SRT. The SRT Airport link has plans to extend from Makkasan (City Air Terminal) to a new Bang Sue Terminal and Bangkok’s second Airport, Don Muang to create 5 Stations, 21.8 Km in length. Construction has already started on the east line extending the BTS from Bearing to Samut Prakan 7 station which totals over 12.6 km. This is due to be completed in late 2015. There are already plans underway to increase this line a further 7.5km from Samut Prakan to Baang Pooyai which will result in another 4 stations. The BTS line heading north is also planned. This concerns Mo Chit Station to Saphan Mai, 11.4 km in length with a total of 11 stations under tender. A further extension from Saphan Mai to Khoo Kut, 7.5 km in length and offering another 4 stations is also under tender. Khoo Kut to Lam Lukka has an additional 9km planned also.
Construction has started on the MRT Purple line Tao Pun to Bang Yai. 16 stations, 23 Km in length, is due to open in 2016. Construction on the Blue line is also underway and due to open in 2017.
Bang Sue – Tao Poon, 1.2 km in length, is due to open in 2015 and interchange with Purple line. Tao Poon – Tha Phra, another stretch 11.9 km in length, has another 10 stations ready for 2017.
At the other end of the line, due to open in 2017, is Hua Lamphong – Lak Song’s extension of 13.9 km (a total of 11 stations) will include some underground and others above ground.
There’s also a pink monorail planned to include Pak Kret – Lak Si – Min Buri. 30 stations in total over 36km.
An Orange Line is planned for the future that will run from Bang Bamru – Bang Kapi – Min Buri. 37 km, 27 stations.
A Yellow monorail Line, Lat Phrao – Bangkapi – Samrong offers another 31 km, 22 stations.
Finally, a Purple Line southern extension Tao Pun – Wong Wian Yai – Phra Padeang will result in 23.6km of track laid down to encompass 17 stations.
It is doubtful that all of these planned routes will get the go ahead, but it seems as though the future for public transport in Bangkok is looking very bright.
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