- BTS Skytrain
Infobox rail line
name = Bangkok Skytrain
image_width = 100px
caption = BTS official logo.
status = 23 stations built and extension is underway.
start = Siam
end = Mo Chit and
stations = 23
ridership = 450,000
open = December 5,
operator = Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited
character = Elevated
linelength = convert|23|km|mi|2|abbr=on|lk=on
notrack = 2
gauge = RailGauge|sg (standard gauge)
speed = convert|80|km|mi|2|abbr=on|lk=on
Template:Bangkok Transportation Systems
Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) or Skytrain ( _th. รถไฟฟ้า) is the elevated metro system in
Bangkok, Thailand, operated by Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited (BTSC) under a concession granted by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). With 23 stations along 2 lines, it was opened on December 5, 1999by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The Sukhumvit line runs northwards and eastwards, terminating at Mo Chit and On Nut respectively; the Silom line plies Silom and Sathon, the Central Business District of Bangkok, terminating at the National Stadium and Saphan Taksin (Taksin Bridge). The lines interchange at Siam station and have a combined route distance of 23 km. The Skytrain is formally known as the Elevated Train in Commemoration of HM the King's 6th Cycle Birthday ( _th. รถไฟฟ้าเฉลิมพระเกียรติ 6 รอบ พระชนมพรรษา) because it was opened to the public on HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 72nd birthday.
Bangkok also has an underground railway system called the "MRT" or unofficially the "Metro".
The MRT system was initially referred to as the "Lavalin Skytrain" because it was to be designed using the
Vancouver SkyTrainas a model adopting the technology developed by [http://www.snclavalin.com SNC Lavalin] . Due to political interference, the concession with Lavalin was cancelled in 1992, in spite of Bangkok's chronic traffic congestion. The Thai Government focused on increasing road and expressway infrastructure in an attempt to combat congestion. However, this had less than the desired impact as the number of cars on the road increased dramatically. The lines considered under the skytrain project became later the basis for the Bangkok Metro system and interesting enough are mainly underground.
In the early 1990s, foundations for the Lavalin Skytrain were constructed in the middle of two bridges spanning the
Chao Phrayariver. The Taksin bridge now supports the under-construction Silom line to Thon Buri, scheduled be completed by April 2009. The supports at Phra Pokklao bridge remain unused but may be utilised as part of the MRT's future Purple Line.
Shortly after the it became clear that the Lavalin Skytrain was stalled, then-governor Major-General
Chamlong Srimuangasked his deputy Krisda Arunvongse na Ayutthaya to create a new feeder system with a route along Sukhumvit and Silom Rd. Krisda, who in the same period was elected governor, and his team from BMA managed to find an investor to build it. Krisda also convinced all to let the city supervise the project. The investor founded Bangkok Transit System Corporation and this company successfully financed the system and grew it from a feeder system to a full mass transit project. Siemens as supplier of the railway technology and the Thai contractor Italian Thai Developmentbuilt the system for BTSC.
The 'Skytrain' name was given to the system later by the press. It stuck and will likely be kept even though the portion of system through the historic Rattana Kosin island will one day be below grade.
Originally, the Skytrain depot was to be built in Lumphini Park, but due to widespread objections from Bangkok residents it was constructed on a parcel of land located along Phahon Yothin Road, replacing the old Northern/Northeastern bus terminal (Mo Chit). The current depot at Mo Chit is a part of the proposed 'Bangkok Terminal' project, where a large complex comprising a new regional bus terminal, park & ride facility and other commercial development can be built directly above it.
Thanayong Public Company Limited (Thai บริษัท ธนายง จำกัด (มหาชน)) had a 28.21% stake in BTSC when the Skytrain began, and therefore in its early days the system was sometimes referred to as the "Thanayong Skytrain".
The Skytrain initially had lower-than-predicted ridership, with 200,000 passenger trips per day. Ticket revenue was only enough to meet the trains' operating cost, and not sufficient to service construction loans. However, the Skytrain's daily passenger numbers have steadily increased since then. On
December 9, 2005, more than 500,000 single trips were made on the Skytrain in a single day for the first time. BTSC is currently planning to purchase more trains and is studying the possibility of putting 6-car trains into service. The company will implement a contactless ticketing system in 2006, allowing both BTS and MRT passengers to use their RFID smart cards as joint tickets starting in 2007.
All the stations to the skytrain are elevated. The platforms are built to accommodate trains of six cars, but trains of only three cars are in operation.
The first elevated level of the stations is accessed with stairs and often escalators, and contains the ticket booths, some small kiosk-like shops and access control gates. The second level (and third at
Siam station) is again accessed with stairs and escalators and contains the platforms and rails. Siam station is unique in the way that it is the only BTS station with island platforms, to facilitate transfer between lines. All of the other stations have side platforms. Additionally, many stations have ramps and elevators to allow wheelchair-bound passengers to access the ticketing hall and platform from the street. The distance between doors is equal throughout the train, regardless of whether they are in the same or different cars and the locations where the doors will be after the train has stopped are marked on the platform. For security and safety, security personnel are stationed at every platform and all ticketing halls.
Three Skytrain stations, Sala Daeng, Asok and Mo Chit, are interchanges with the MRT. Saphan Taksin station is connected to the adjacent
Sathonpier where the Chao Phraya Express river boat services call. Many stations are linked by 'Skybridges' (overhead pedestrian walkways) to neighbouring buildings and public amenities.
Consumption of food or drink is forbidden past the ticketing gate or on the Skytrain.
For single-trip and store-value ticket holders fares are calculated according to distance, but adult / student / tourist passes for limited / unlimited train rides are also available. Next to the magnetic farecards, which require replacement once every two years, the Skytrain has adopted near-field contactless technology in its ticketing system, with the intent of becoming compatible with the system presently used in the MRT. Fact|date=July 2007
In the table below, an italicized name on a pink background indicates that the station is the extension to current line and not yet in operation.
No Skytrain extensions have opened since the opening of the original system. There is much political problems in Thailand with favoritism and nepotism regarding the contracts for expansions from the government, until recently controlled by Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thaiparty, of stalling the Skytrain extensions in order to punish the BMA, which is controlled by the opposition Democrat Party, by doing so hoping to prevent the Democrats from gaining popularity among Bangkok residents.
In 2002 the cabinet was requested to amend a law in order to allow a private firm to finance the cost of operating the train system, while the government takes care of all the civil engineering works. On
October 18, 2005, with no approval from the central government forthcoming, the BMA decided to seek to complete the 2.2 km Silom Line route extension (S7 Charoen Nakhon & S8 Wongwian Yai) using its own budget.Construction began on December 13, 2005with completion originally expected within a year, but problems with tendering for the signalling system have repeatedly pushed back the schedule, with the opening now planned for early 2009, first scheduled to open September 2002.
The extension plan for the BTS can be summarized as follows:
* On Nut –
Samrong(terminating at Sukhumvit Soi 119) – 8.9 km, Now, shortened to Onnut - Bearing (terminating at Sukhumvit 107, the border pole of BMA) – 5.2 km. The rest has been pushed to Phase II
* Saphan Taksin – Wong Wian Yai (terminating at Th. Somdet Chao Phraya) – 2.2 km
* Mo Chit – Saphan Mai – 12 km
* Samrong –
Samut Prakan– 7.9 km (Now Bearing - Samrong - Samut Prakarn - with total distance of 10.6 km)
* Wong Wian Yai – Bang Wa (terminating at Th. Phetchakasem) – 4.5 km
* National Stadium – Phran Nok (terminating at Th. Charan Sanit Wong) – 6.8 km
It is estimated that most of the extension plans above will be completed by 2010 or 2012 at the latest, though political bickering has got in the way in the past.
Maps of the existing lines and proposed extension plans
* Download [http://www.2bangkok.com/2bangkok/MassTransit/map/System%20Map%206.11.pdf the System Map of Bangkok Rail Transit Network] in PDF format
* Download [http://www.2bangkok.com/2bangkok/MassTransit/map/Master%20Plan%207.5.pdf the Master Plan of Bangkok Transport Network] in PDF format
List of rapid transit systems
Suvarnabhumi Airport Link
* [http://www.bts.co.th/ Bangkok Transit System]
* [http://2bangkok.com/2bangkok/Skytrain/index.shtml 2Bangkok.com Skytrain site]
* [http://www.urbanrail.net/as/bang/bangkok.htm UrbanRail.net: Bangkok]
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