Last weekend I documented the various types of mass transport at Kheha Thonburi not far from where I live. I was quite surprised to find such an active range of modes of mass transport all working together. Some modern, some a blast from the past.
Kheha Thonburi is the last major centre in the south west of Bangkok before you enter Mahachai city. The area does not have a long history or anything special. It is just a recent outer suburban development about 30 km from inner Bangkok. The area is made up of just 3 main roads and a lot of narrow sois heading out to various housing estates. The area is mostly middle class Thai but it has its share of lower class and the rich.
The available modes of mass transport in and around Kheha Thonburi are SRT rail (Mahachai line), Buses, Vans, Truck – buses, Motorbike taxi and Samlor (pedal cabs). Most of this Mass transport is common to other parts of Bangkok but Samlors are now very rare in most of Bangkok and even in nearby cities. But in Kheha Thonburi they are alive and doing well despite the traffic and faster motorbike taxis.
This topic consists of two parts the first is the mass transport of Kheha Thonburi and the second is the Vans of Rama 2.
Part 1: Kheha Thonburi.
1. This is a shot of a brand new Chinese import air conditioned bus. These buses are now used on Route 558: Kheha Thonburi – Suvarnabhumi Airport. Bus number 558 – 12. This bus is operated by Premium management a company that took over the operation from BMTA about 3 months ago.
2. This is another angle on Bus number 558 – 12. This bus is one of the smallest aircon buses in Bangkok. It is quite different from most other modern Chinese imports to Thailand in that its engine is at the front next to the driver.
3. This is a shot of a Route 171: Kheha Thonburi – Nakkila Village bus. Bus number 171 – 9. Bus type unknown. Seen as it passed by the Kheha Thonburi terminus.
4. This is an inside image of the Route 558 bus. Note the 2 + 1 layout of the seating and directly below the camera is the engine under the plastic cover. This bus is air conditioned but it also has open able windows which are rather different to most Thai buses.
5. This is a shot of a route 142: Paknam – Kheha Thonburi bus. Bus number BMTA 3 – 66350. Bus type Merc O405. Taken as it approached the U-turn point at Kheha Thonburi.
6. This is a shot of a large motorbike taxi stand just outside the Tesco lotus store at Kheha Thonburi. These motorbikes play an important role in mass transport helping to fill in the last mile of a trip.
7. This is a shot of the Samlor stand on the opposite side of the road to the motorbike taxis. The motorbikes are there competitors. There are two large groups of them in Kheha Thonburi this is the southern group. These Samlor’s are very rare to see and ride in Bangkok.
8. This is a shot of the north Kheha Thonburi motorbike taxi stand. It is located in the soi that connects to the SRT station at Kan Kheha.
9. This is a shot of the north Samlor Stand at Kheha Thonburi. They service the same route as the motorbikes and a much more green way of getting around.
10. This is a shot a Route 147: Dao Khanong – Outer ring road – Bang Khae bus. Bus number 147 – 37. Taken as it runs down to the terminus at Kheha Thonburi. Note the rather large cloud of smoke as it passes the far greener and pollution free north Samlor stand.
11. This is a shot of Route 105: Mahachai Mai – Kilometer 9 bus. Bus number BMTA 5 – 40312. Bus type white Hino. Taken at Kheha Thonburi Carrfour bus stop.
12. This is a short movie showing how frequent the bus services are at Kheha Thonburi. Note: the amount of buses that come in the couple of minutes. Also they stop in a number of separate places along the bottom 2 lanes of the road. Also the stop length is very short on some of the buses just a few seconds. Some of the buses run with the doors open.
Before heading to Kheha Thonburi while taking photos for the van section I took a number of bus photos from different angles on Central Rama 2 footbridge.
13. This is a shot of a Route 558 bus. Taken as it passed under the Central Rama 2 footbridge. This is the same unit as photographed at Kheha Thonburi. Note it had just stopped raining at Central Rama 2.
14. This is an image of a Route 68 and Route 147 buses heading westward from the BIG C side of Central Rama 2. Taken from the footbridge. The 68 goes to Mahachai City. The 147 goes to Bang Khae.
15. This is a shot of a Route 105 and Route 140 buses approaching the BIG C on Rama 2 road. Taken from the footbridge looking east towards a rainy inner Bangkok. The 105 goes to Mahachai Mai. The 140 goes to Samae Dum.
16. This is a close up shot of the same Route 140 expressway bus at BIG C Rama 2. This bus stop always tends to be utter chaos due to the taxis and truck – bus and metro buses all using the one small bus stop.
17. This is a shot of a rather busy Truck – bus service just after it left BIG C Rama 2. Note how people stand on the back in the open. Taken from the footbridge.
18. This is an image of a route 529: Mochit 2 – Samae Dum bus. Taken from the footbridge. In the foreground is an expressway Van.
Part 2: The Vans of Rama 2.
This section relates to the expressway van services that operate out of 4 terminals on Rama 2 road. These expressway van services are aimed at offering a more direct and faster trip across town. In some cases they also offer an air conditioned mass transport option to an area that only has non aircon buses.
The four Van terminals are Central Rama 2, Big C Rama 2, Kheha Thonburi Tesco (southside) and Kheha Thonburi Carrfour (northside). The destinations that are serviced by the Rama 2 Van services are broken down into 2 types commuter and interurban.
Commuter van destinations: Taling Chan, Southern Bus Terminal, Mahachai City, Central Lat Prow, Kasetsart University, KMUTT, Bang Pa Kok, Rangsit, Victory Monument and Bangna
Interurban van destinations: Bang San, Chonburi, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Amata Industrial Park and Maeklong.
The cost for using the Commuter Vans ranges from 20 baht to 50 baht a trip. Payable in cash to the driver when underway. No tickets are issued for these services. Almost all van services only display simple signs in Thai language. This can make locating the correct van rather fun. If you speak Thai you can ask the van drivers directly for the correct van. Unless you sit in the front next to the driver these vans offer very little leg room and are only comfortable for short trips under 60 mins.
The Interurban vans cost from 100 baht upward per trip. But the comfort is the same as commuter vans and no luggage storage is provided. Also most these destinations are over 1 hour with some up to 4 hours away! These vans are not recommended for people with luggage or who are very tall as legroom is very limited. Normal buses also operate to these interurban locations from the eastern bus terminal in Bangkok.
The van services do not operate to a timetable or at a set frequency. They wait until a full load of 15 passengers has been reached then leave. During peak travel times waiting for the van to fill will not be a problem as demand often exceeds supply. During off peak times waiting for the 15 passengers can add 10 to 15 mins to the total trip time. If you’re thinking of using these vans in the off peak allow an extra 15 mins for your journey.
Central Rama 2 Van Terminal.
1. This is a shot of a commuter van waiting for passengers heading for Taling Chan and Southern Bus Terminal. Note: There are no route numbers or vehicle numbers for most van services.
2. This is a shot of two interurban vans waiting for passengers at Central Rama 2. The closer van with the open door is heading to Bang San/Chonburi and the van behind is heading to Amata Industrial Park.
3. This is another angle on the Bang San interurban van service. Taken looking toward the shopping centre.
4. This is an image of a typical sign that is placed on or near the place where a van will wait for passengers. This sign indicates this place is where to wait for the van to Kasetsart University.
5. This is an overview shot of the Central Rama 2 Van terminal. Taken from the footbridge. Commuter vans tend to be on the side closest to the street and interurban vans closer to the shopping centre.
Big C Rama 2 Van and Truck – Bus Terminal.
6. This is an overview image of the Big C Rama 2 van terminal. Taken from the footbridge. This terminal is very crammed in when compared to the Central Rama 2 terminal.
7. This is a shot of a commuter van waiting for passengers heading to Bang Pa Kok. The vast majority of these expressway vans are Toyota’s.
8. This is an image of a commuter van waiting for passengers heading to Mahachai City. This terminal also offers interurban vans to Maeklong and Hua Hin.
Kheha Thonburi Tesco van terminal.
9. This is a shot of a van heading to Victory Monument. Taken just as it was about to depart. Van Number 103 – 16. This service is the busiest van service of all Rama 2 van services. At peak hour the queue for getting on a van can be 100 people long.
10. This is an inside shot of a Victory Monument commuter van. The Interurban vans are the same inside but used on much longer routes.
Kheha Thonburi Carrfour van terminal.
11. This is a shot of the Kheha Thonburi Carrfour van terminal. The van on the left is heading to Rangsit and the van on the right is heading to Bangna. This terminal is the smallest van terminal in the Rama 2 area.
These van services as you can tell from the images are an informal type of mass transport that came into being with the opening of the expressway system in the early 1990s. Bangkok has lots of hidden forms of mass transportation such as these vans. You don’t have to travel far from your home to find some mode of mass transport in Thailand. In some ways the amount of mass transport choice in Thailand is something that western nations could learn from.
I hope you find the pictures and vehicles shown to be of interest if you view this please post some comments and feelings about the pictures.
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- After living and working in Thailand for over 5 years in October 2010 I relocated from Mahachai Thailand to Melbourne Australia. I have a wide interest in railways, ferries, metros, trams, buses and mass transit system planning throughout Thailand and the Asian region.
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Thursday, July 10, 2008
Thai Mass Transport Topics List
- Welcome to the Thai Mass Transport Systems Blog
- The Buses of Rama 2 road
- The Buses of Wong Wian Yai
- SRT Mahachai Train runs with the doors wide open.
- A Trip from Wong Wian Yai to Bang Bon on the SRT Mahachai line.
- A Ride on Route 147 (Kanchana Phisek rd)
- A Ride on Route 146 (Kanchana Phisek rd)
- The New Southern Bus Terminal + Intercity buses.
- The Mass Transport Vehicles of Mahachai City.
- SRT: The Maeklong line and Maeklong railway market
- The Maeklong Bus Terminal
- The Modern Rail Based Mass Transit of Thailand
- The Modern Bus Based Mass Transport of Bangkok.
- The Mass Transport Boats of Bangkok (Chao Phraya Express)
- The Mass Transport Boats of Bangkok (Dao Khanong Klong Boat)
- The Mass Transport Boats of Bangkok (Klong Saen Saep Boat service)
- The Mass Transport Boats of Bangkok (Phra Khanong Klong Boat Service)
- SRT: The Mahachai line a trip from Bang Bon to Mahachai.
- SRT: The Mahachai Rail Yard.
- SRT: The Eastern Line and the construction of the Airport Rail Link.
- SRT: The Main System (Hualamphong Station and rail yard).
- SRT: A trip on the Ayutthaya Commuter Line (Main North line).
- The Buses of Suvarnabhumi Airport and Suvarnabhumi Bus Terminal.
- SRT: Prachuap Khiri Khan railway station and night shots.
- The Mass Transport of Prachuap Khiri Khan.
- A Summary Bus Guide to Bangkok’s Mass transport bus system.
- SRT: Thonburi Rail Yard + Thai Steam Engine Fleet.
- The Buses of Nakhon Pathom and Bus Route 402.
- SRT: The Thonburi to Nakhon Pathom Commuter Line.
- The Mega Mochit 2 Bus Terminal.
- Mochit 2: The Metro Bus Terminal.
- SRT: Bang Sue Junction and Station.
- The Main South line: Bang Sue to Taling Chan link.
- The Mass Transport of Samut Chedi and The Temple in the Sea.
- The Mass Transport of Kheha Thonburi + Vans of Rama 2.
- The Buses and Trucks of Paknam City
- The Mass Transport of Phra Pradaeng.
- Free BMTA Bus and SRT rail travel.
- SRT: The Queensland railways SX commuter carriages.
- A little extra BTS and SRT.
- The Bangkok BRT (Bus Rapid Transit System) and Buses of Thaphra.
- SRT Cargo Trains and Chachoengsao Junction (Eastern Line).
- SRT: Kaeng Khoi Junction night shots and movies.
- SRT: Hin Lap Station and Curve + Dong Phraya Yen Pass.
- Alternative Travel arrangements for Bangkok Airport Passengers.
- The Mega Victory Monument Metro Bus Terminal.
- The Eastern Bus Terminal.
- SRT: Cab Ride Mahachai Line: Bang Bon – Wong Wian Yai.
- The Buses of Rangsit.
- The Rangsit Metro Bus Terminal and Bus Depot.
- The Buses of Pathum Thani.
- SRT Northern Line: Paknam Pho Station and Yard.
- SRT: Kaeng Khoi Junction in the Daylight.
- SRT: Bua Yai Line and Chong Samran.
- The Buses of Saphan Taksin.
- The Buses of Sanam Luang and Tha Chang.
- The Buses of Nonthaburi.
- Chao Phraya Express Boats – The New Pak Kret Service.
- The Southern Line: Hat Yai Junction Station and Yard.
- The new BTS Extension to Wong Wian Yai.
- The Tha Din Daeng cross river ferry + Route 20 terminus.
- The Buses of Chinatown.
- The Eastern Line: Kabinburi and Prachantakam.
- SRT: Khok Salung and Pasak Chonlasit Dam.
- SRT: Southern line the second attempt.
- The state of the Mahachai Line and Bang Bon "Track Lake".
- The Mass Transit of Vientiane Laos.
- Udon Thani's Mass Transit System.
- Thai VIP Intercity Buses + Thai - Lao International Buses.
- The Mass Transit of Mukdahan.
- SRT: Hualamphong Station by Night + Overnight Trains.
- SRT Northern Line: Thailand's Highest and Longest – Khun Tan.
- The Bangkok Airport Rail Link: The fastest train in Thailand.
- SRT: Maeklong Line – Ban Bo Station.
- Bangkok BRT System: Chong Nonsi BTS (Sathorn) to Ratchapruek.
- SRT: Mahachai Line + Buses of Wong Wian Yai during morning peak.
- The new BTS extension from On Nut to Bearing.
- SRT Northern line: Steam Locomotives at Bang Pa In.