Several shopping malls want to build walkways linking their establishments with proposed new subway train stations, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) says.
Yongsit Rojsrikul, governor of the MRTA, which operates the Metropolitan Rapid Transport (MRT) subway system, said pedestrian links are being proposed along the six planned new MRT lines.
The Purple Line, which will run from Bang Yai in Nonthaburi to Bangkok's Rat Burana, has drawn particular interest.
It is currently under construction and set to open in 2014.
Mr Yongsit said the proposed pedestrian links have several benefits. They will contribute to the government's sustainable transport initiative and increase the number of passengers riding on the subway, generating more income for the MRTA.
The agency needs to boost its income to offset ballooning debts incurred from the construction of additional rail lines and extensions. The MRTA plans to increase the MRT's line length from the current 27km to 200km.
"MRT's debts exceed 100 billion baht but the agency can generate only 100 million baht annually. We need to cut costs and earn more," Mr Yongsit said.
He said the MRTA is also considering setting up a subsidiary that could pursue joint public-private commercial development ventures.
The MRTA has a number of commercial development plans, including a proposal to develop a 1,000-rai plot where its head office is located. The proposal is being studied by the Council of State.
The governor added the Bang Yai-Rat Burana line is likely to be constructed using the design-and-build model. This method is expected to shorten construction time by as much as 1.5 years and reduce economic losses by 5 billion baht annually.
Mr Yongsit said the MRT has also submitted a plan to reduce construction costs for the planned Orange Line to Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt.
The plan involves demolishing a flyover in the Ramkhamhaeng area.
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- Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook