Is public transport on the agenda of any of the Bangkok governor candidates?
We are now entering a pre-election period for the race to become Bangkok's master.
In one corner of the ring, the ex-governor with his shady track record - just think about his Great Floods Hesitation or his Futsal stadium fiasco. In the other corner, the Pheu Thai-sponsored candidate who denies shoplifting a radio while he was abroad. And then there's all the independent and third-party candidates who may or may not make the battle very lively.
Maybe these candidates could explain what they will really do - not in terms of empty-headed Thaksin-style promises of solving Bangkok's traffic problems in six months - to solve this abominable traffic.
Meanwhile, it gets worse every day, thanks to the central government policy of encouraging the acquisition of new cars instead of speeding up and increasing efforts to implement an integrated public transport system that will provide a viable alternative to vehicles.
The way things are, Bangkok's public transit will not rival that of any major city, like the London underground _ the first in the world, starting operations in 1863 (Yes, exactly 150 years ago) and now with 270 stations and 400 kilometres of tracks _ or New York with 468 stations. Nearby Seoul has 560km of tracks, while the Tokyo system serves 3.2 billion annual passengers.
Compare this with the few kilometres of current tracks and the meagre planned extensions of both the Bangkok BTS and the subway, which currently handle 200 million passengers a year. Let's hear their policies and please Bangkokians, vote!
Wary of red bullying
Re: Red shirts to monitor governor poll (BP, Jan 11).
United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship chairwoman Tida Tawornseth's plan to form a red-shirt team to monitor the Bangkok governor election does not bode well for democracy.
The red shirts in the recent past have been rumbustious and bellicose in public gatherings.
How can we, the people, be sure their monitoring team will not intimidate voters at the booths?
And since Ms Tida insists she and the red shirts are in full support of the Pheu Thai Party candidate, how can this election be clean and fair?
By the way, isn't the job of monitoring an election that of the Election Commission?
THAI staff so selfish
I fully support Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt, who lambasted striking THAI staff for being inconsiderate.
He said they are putting their own interest before the organisation's interest, disrupting dozens of flights and leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.
The strikers demanded a two-month bonus and a 7.5 per cent pay rise instead of a one-month bonus and a salary hike of 4 per cent.
Compensation is strictly a matter between an employee and his employer, and the staff have no legal or moral right to hold passengers hostage to their demands. What if pilots, baggage handlers and stewardesses took turns striking until their demands were met? THAI would have such outrageous labour costs that it would quickly go out of business.
THAI labour union chairwoman Jaemsri Sukchoterat is wrong when she says the work stoppage did not damage the company. Just ask any of the thousands who were stranded or whose flights were disrupted.
She said: ''We were demanding what we deserved.'' If that's so, ma'am, back it up with figures showing that staff productivity increased by what you are demanding (7.5 per cent over last year) and that output in excess of target was double that of last year (hence deserving of a double bonus). THAI, if your staff try another stunt like this, carry through with Minister Chadchat's plan to call in the military and other state enterprises to replace the strikers - on a permanent basis.
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