BMCL to turn off escalators during off-peak periods

Descending escalators will be turned off at underground train stations during off-peak hours to cut back on electricity use, according to Ronnachit Yaemsa-ard, deputy governor of the Mass Rapid Authority of Thailand (MRTA), the subway train concession owner.

  • Published: 19/03/2013 at 05:43 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

BMCL posted on its website inviting passengers to save energy by using stairs instead of escalators in "We all can do" campaign. Photo from www.bangkokmetro.co.th

He said the SET-listed operator, Bangkok Metro Plc (BMCL) planned to introduce the cost saving measure in response to the government's initiative on energy saving.

BMCL plans to shut down descending escalators from 9am to 4pm in the period April 1 to June 30. Power will be turned off to 70-80 escalators during that time. He said there are about 200 escalators in the subway system.

He said it costs BMCL around one million baht a day to keep the escalators working at all time at its 18 stations. Shutting some of them down for much of the day would mean a big cost saving, and save power. Passengers could use the stairways instead, he said.

Mr Ronnachit said electricity use in the subway system is concentrated in three areas - 73% goes to providing facilities at stations, 21% to power the trains, and the remaining 6% for maintenance.

"Turning off the descending escalators will help reduce energy consumption,'' he said.

From April 1, BMCL will also increase the parking fee for passengers to 15 baht for every two hours, up from the current 10 baht. Monthly charges will be 1,250 baht to 1,500 baht. 

Mr Ronnachit said the company has to increase the parking fees because of rising costs, such as the electricity bill, management fees, maintenance of car control gates, cleaning and security. The charge had been unchanged for five years. 

BMCL president Chaiwat Uthaiwan said the company is looking at a 10% growth in passengers in 2013, when compared to 2012. The subway currently serves around 260,000 passengers a day, but this increases to 300,000 during festivals or special events.

He said the government's first-time car buyer policy actually helped increase the number of subway passengers, people who want to avoid the traffic and save commuting time. 

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Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook
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