Last weekend I visited the currently under construction Bangkok BRT system. This BRT system is being built as a cheaper and faster way to deliver BTS style mass transport to other parts of Bangkok. The BRT is being supported by the Bangkok city council.
The BRT will run from Chong Nonsi BTS station in Sathorn to the Mall Thaphra in Thonburi. The route will run south along Narathiwat Ratchanakharin road then turn to the right and operate along Rama 3 road and cross the Rama 3 Bridge and finish in front of the Mall Tha Phra on Ratchadaphisek road in Thonburi.
The construction works on all stations is underway from Chong Nonsi BTS to the eastern foot of the Rama 3 Bridge (Bangkok side). However no construction works have started on the Thonburi side of the Rama 3 Bridge. The lack of work on the Thonburi side is due to major problems with providing a BRT bus lane over the Rama 3 Bridge which is gridlocked at peak times with traffic speeds at 2 kph.
If the BRT lane as planned for is installed over the Rama 3 Bridge it will reduce mixed traffic from 3 lanes to 2 lanes on the bridge and from 2 lanes to 1 lane on the bridge approaches. Also this will mean the 4 lanes of mixed traffic between the Mall Thaphra will be forced to merge into 1 lane to access the Rama 3 Bridge.
If the BRT is pushed through in its current form it will make an already bad traffic situation even worse. It’s already at 2kph average traffic speed at peak hour before BRT. After these works the mixed traffic route will become unusable with journey times increasing from 1 hour to well over 2 hours for a 3 km journey.
However all is not lost with this section of the BRT if the Bangkok City Council could extend the BRT much further west and north of the Mall Tha Phra then car and normal BMTA bus users could transfer well before the Rama 3 Bridge and therefore reducing the negative impacts of the BRT.
Another issue with the BRT is going to be its maximum capacity per hour this is currently unknown as it’s never been tested. If it’s too low the BRT system will not cope with demand. As has occurred in other parts of the world.
The buses used on the BRT will be high floor articulated buses with railway like floor level platform access. Also the buses will be setup so the doors are on the right hand side and not the left as per all other Thai buses. This setup will make the BRT busway exclusive to the BRT buses only. No BMTA buses will be able to use it.
Thus on the congested Thonburi section of the route the every 30 second BMTA bus services will become trapped in even more massive jams making life worse for Thonburi bus users and even creating transport delays as far away as Mahachai city.
The BRT does have some great positives if the problems are worked out. Some of these positives would be a single high frequency rail like mass transport route for Rama 3 road which has poorly planed indirect bus services currently. The new route will offer a high capacity route to cross from Thonburi to Bangkok and connect with the BTS for a traffic free journey saving an hours traveling time at peak.
1. This is an image of footbridge/concourse of the BRT station at the eastern foot of the Rama 3 Bridge. Taken from the north end of the walkway looking south. Note the ticket office can be seen under construction at the southern end.
2. This is a close up shot of the under construction ticket office inside the BRT station. The peeling material on the outside will be removed when complete.
3. This is a shot of the inbound BRT busway platform. Looking east from the concourse of the BRT station.
4. This is a shot of the outbound BRT busway platform. Looking east from the concourse of the BRT station. It appears each platform will only be able to hold a bus at a time.
5. This is an image of the exit steps to the side of Rama 3 road. There will be escalators for entry only. Also no disabled access will be provided on the BRT system as no station has a lift from street level to the concourse or to the busway platforms.
6. This is a general view of the BRT concourse looking north. The ticket office is to the right. The small door will provide access to a small staff lunch or rest area.
7. The inbound Busway platform. Taken from the platform itself looking east. Note the railings down the middle of the platform. This appears to separate arriving and departing BRT passengers.
8. The outbound Busway platform. Taken from the platform itself looking east. Note the boxes stored on the platform. These contain materials probably panels for the bus shelters.
9. The view of the BRT station from street level. Note the single escalator for up access from the platforms to the concourse. Like the BTS stations these BRT stations dominate the streetscape.
10. This is a general view of the BRT station from street level. At this angle it appears to be a foot bridge over the road. Signage will be needed to help make them standout better to car users.
11. This is a shot of the entry escalator to the concourse. There will be no lift for disabled passengers. The colour of the BRT stations is similar to the Bangkok city council colours.
12. This is a shot of the almost complete concourse of the second last BRT station on Rama 3 road. Some signage work and electrical work remains to complete.
13. This is an image of the almost complete inbound BRT platform. The entire station is built over the existing Rama 3 road khlong. The white panels will be used for backlit signs or advertising.
14. This is a close up shot of the externally complete BRT station ticket office. This BRT station is located in front of a Home Pro shopping centre on Rama 3 road. The internal works for the ticket office still needs to be completed.
15. This is a view looking towards the entrance to the BRT Busway platforms. It is not known if there will be off bus ticket barriers installed in this area. If so, no provision for electric power has been provided in the floor.
16. This is a shot of the almost complete outbound BRT platform. The Buses will travel in a meant to be segregated lane on Rama 3 road. The lane they will use is the current top lane of Rama 3 road. Therefore reducing it from 4 to 3 lanes in each direction.
17. This is an image of the BRT station toilets. It is not clear if they will be available for passenger use despite being located on the Busway platforms. If they are available for public use it will be a first for Bangkok’s modern mass transport system as the BTS and MRT do not have any station toilets. Also of note the toilets are above a khlong it is possible the waste will just going into the khlong directly.
A more complete survey of the BRT route and system will be completed once the system is operating fully. This could be upto 12 months a way.
The Current Bus services of Rama 3 road.
All of the following images were taken near the second last BRT station opposite the Home Pro Shopping centre.
18. This is a shot of a Route 89: Bangkok Rajamangala Institute of Technology – Taling Chan Bus. Traveling towards Taling Chan. Bus number 89 – 9. Bus type Non aircon Hino. This service operates from 5am to 11pm operates every 5 to 10 mins.
19. This is an image of a Route 205: Customs Department (Klong Toei) – Tha Phra Bus. BMTA bus number 4 – 80072. Bus type non aircon Mitsubishi. This service operates from 4.30am to 11.20pm operates every 2 to 5 mins. Note this bus is a free service.
20. This is a shot of a Route 205 bus. Traveling towards Tha Phra. BMTA bus number 4 – 45124. Bus type Aircon Hino. Between 6am and 9am and 4pm and 7pm rapid buses operate using the aircon buses every 2 to 5 mins in addition to the normal service. These buses use all 5 Rama 3 road flyover bridges to provide a faster service.
21. This is a shot of a Route 504: Rangsit to Thanon Tok bus. Traveling towards Thanon Tok terminus. Bus number 504 – 3. This service is operated by premium management and appears to be a new route as the old route is via Charoen Krung road. Bus type Golden Dragon. This service appears to operate every 10 mins.
22. This is an image of a Route 22: Sathu Pradit to Lat Phrao 101 bus traveling towards Lat Phrao 101 Bus number 8 – 6739. Bus type Merc O305. This service operates every 5 to 10 mins and is a 24 hour service.
The Buses of Tha Phra.
This next set of images where taken in the area in front of the Mall Tha Pra. This area is where the last BRT station meant to be built. However due to issues mentioned at the start it has been delayed due to its detrimental effects on traffic in the area. This area has crawling 5 to 10 kph traffic in at least one direction from 6am to 11pm 7 days a week. These images where taken on a Sunday afternoon when the traffic its lightest inbound but was jammed outbound.
The bus services in this area are already at capacity and operate when the traffic allows every 30 seconds on a number of separate routes. Making the traffic worse is the addition of 4 new 30 plus storey condo projects close to the already very busy Mall Tha Phra. These building will be built with zero consideration for the infrastructure issues of the area.
23. This is a shot of a Route 147: Rama 2 – Bang Khae – Tha Pra – Dao Khanong bus. Bus number 147 – 58. Bus type Unknown. The bus was stuck in the massive outbound jam opposite the Mall Thaphra.
24. This is another angle on the very pink Route 147 bus. This bus has recently undergone a major refurbishment with new seats new paint job and a conversion to NGV. Buts it’s still got crappy old windows and doors plus no aircon and the choice of colour leave a lot to be desired.
25. This is an image of a Route 57: Thonburi – Southern Bus Terminal Loop bus. Bus number 21 – 215. Bus type Unknown. The route of this bus is very complex and indirect as it appears to be made up of parts of other routes. It even provides train replacement service between Wong Wien Yai and Klong San.
26. This is an image of a Route 68: Mahachai city – Banglamphu bus. Bus number 68 – 22. Bus type Merc O 305. This bus has been converted to NGV.
27. This is a shot of a Route 547: Mahadol University (Salaya) to Victory Monument bus. Bus number 547 – 10. Bus type Merc O 305. This service travels via an indirect route.
28. This is a shot of a Route 101: Rama 2 (Bang Mod) – Wat Muang bus. BMTA bus number 6 – 50107. Bus type Isuzu. Note this is a free bus service.
29. This is a picture of a Route 205: Thaphra – Customs Department (Klong Toei) Bus. BMTA bus number 4 – 44086. Bus type Aircon Hino.
30. This is a shot of an unrefurbished Route 147 bus. Bus number 147 – 47. Bus type Unknown.
31. This is an image of a Route 193: Rama 2 - Kanlapaphruek – Tha Phra – Dao Khanong loop bus. BMTA bus number 6 – 30315. Bus type Merc O 405. This is a new service that started in September and fills in a previous transport black hole on Kanlapaphruek road.
32. This is a shot of a Route 68: Samae Dum – Banglamphu bus. BMTA bus number 5 – 30378. Bus type Merc O 405.
Now for something different a Route 1402: Bang Bon – Bang Khae bus. Bus number 1402 – 60. Bus type unknown. Note how the bus doors have long since gone missing. This route is a minor route and provides an important alternative route to Bang Khae. Taken as it was doing a U – turn at Bang Bon SRT station.
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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Saturday, October 11, 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.