Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain Sukhumvit line Onnut-Bearing extension will slash travel time

Construction News

The Nation

A journey from Bearing to Onnut can take as long as an hour when traffic is bad. But it will soon take just five minutes, thanks to the forthcoming extension of the BTS Skytrain Sukhumvit line.

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) executives and the media yesterday went on a test run of the Onnut-Bearing extension. Bangkokians have been waiting for the new route for more than four years.

Before the trial run began, there was a temporary halt of the Silom Line at rush hour, causing dissatisfied commuters to post complaints on the web board of the BTS website.

Another interruption occurred during rush hour on Tuesday as the signalling systems of the two lines were linked.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra led BMA executives, officers and members of the media on the trial run from Bearing station.

The train moved slowly past buildings on both sides of the track, reducing speed so passengers could see the long skywalk under construction linking Bang Na station to Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre.

The train stopped temporarily above Bang Na intersection, where a Light Rail Transit line is planned to transport people to Suvarnabhumi Airport, about 18 kilometres away.

5 mins from Bearing to Onnut

The train then headed to Bang Chak station – the next station from the currently available Onnut station – passing Udomsuk and Punnawithi stations. New modern condominiums were seen sprouting up along the Skytrain track.

The trip to Bang Chak station took about 10 minutes, but BMA officials said it would take only about five minutes from Bearing to Onnut once the service was fully operational.

Sukhumbhand told reporters that the BMA spent Bt8.9 billion on the 5.25-kilometre-long extension. Up to 100,000 passengers are expected to use it each day.

Suthichai Weerakulsunthorn, chairman of Bangkok Metropolitan Council, said the extension would reach break-even within four to five years.

Full-scale trial runs will take place from June 16 to August 11 before the official opening of operations on August 12.

Passengers will enjoy a BMA promotional offer, using the extension free of charge from the opening until January 1 next year.

Suthichai said a BMA committee was calculating appropriate fares to collect after the promotional period.

On the web board, a person using the name Rien Ma Phau Sarb, pointed out that affected passengers could file cases with the Administrative Court against BMA and Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company, who are responsible for the Skytrain service.

Others urged passengers to consult the Office of the Consumer Protection Board and the Foundation for Consumers. Many said they wanted BTS executives to take responsibility for the halt, which caused them to arrive late for work two days in a row.

However, some posted positive opinions, saying they agreed with the system being tested during rush hour and telling others to not just point out flaws but note that the Skytrain usually took passengers to their destinations on time.


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