I still recall how I felt when travelling by BTS SkyTrain to work for the first time. I was happy and excited. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that other Bangkokians must have felt the same way.
Five years after the operation of the skytrain began, we were again delighted when another mass rapid transit system, the Bangkok Metro subway, or MRT, became available.
We were finally up to par with other Asian countries.
Commuters have more options: besides buses, boats, or driving cars, now there are skytrains and a subway even if the routes of both mass transit systems are relatively short: the skytrain covers 30km overall and the MRT covers 20km.
Over 10 years of the BTS SkyTrain operation in Thailand, things have very much changed or, I would say, "developed". Both the Sukhumvit line and the Silom line have been extended, satisfying people who work or live nearby those areas.
Besides the extensions and new trains coming into service, another development is the reward campaigns that draw skytrain riders into joining activities. Skytrain fares have also been increased.
Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC), the skytrain operator, reports that this year the number of riders rose 15% from last year, and revenue surged 20%.
Today, BTS services about 600,000 passengers on average a day, and this is expected to hit 650,000 next year when the Wong Wian Yai to Bang Wa section is operational. Mass transit seems to be improving, but what has never ever changed, in either the skytrain or the subway, is the manners of the commuters.
Those riding escalators to the train platform behave as though they are in a department store.
They never stand to one side, either left or right (if they don't want to walk), and such actions block other people who are in hurry to walk by. In other countries, commuters automatically stand on the left-hand side, and open a space on the right for others.
My friend argued to me that other countries have had mass transit for a very long time, but we have only had it for over 10 years and people have never been instilled with such common courtesy. Still, should we have to teach the manners of riding escalators?
One day on the way to work, there was a loud phone call from one corner of the carriage, and a few minutes later the loud noise of a man talking on his headphones came from another corner. The serene atmosphere in the train was broken and every pair of eyes watched the sources of those annoying voices.
The first guy seemed to realise that he was talking too loud as he became the target of the passengers' glares.
He gradually turned the volume down on his voice and walked out from the train at the next station.
I don't know whether that was his destination or if he was too ashamed to go further.
The second guy, contrarily, didn't care and kept making noise. Everyone (grudgingly) heard that he was talking about his mistakes in an exam.
It would have been acceptable if he was a senior citizen as age is supposed to cause some hearing impairment. So if you want to use a headset, then please be sure that you're not violating other people's rights.
Besides teaching the manners of riding an escalator, should we have a training session on how to behave in a public area?
Sasiwimon Boonruang writes about IT for Life.
About the author
- Writer: Sasiwimon Boonruang
Position: Life Writer