City governor election policies announced

Bangkok candidates launched policies catering for the needs of women, commuters and Din Daeng flat dwellers during campaigning for the March 3 Bangkok governor election on Wednesday.

Democrat candidate Sukhumbhand Paribatra, running for re-election, highlighted the safety for women and more free health checks.

Pheu Thai candidate for governor Pongsapat Pongcharoen promised to help cut the time Bangkokians spend commuting to and from work during rush hours by 20 to 30%.

Bangkok governor candidates discuss their visions on Wednesday. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

And independent candidate Sophon Pornchokchai proposed gradually demolishing Din Daeng flats and replacing them with highrise buildings that could accommodate more residents.

Pol Gen Ponsapat, emphasising his party was also the party in government, announced two strategies to reach the target of quicker and smoother commuting  -- the extension of the transportation network to encourage more people to use public transport, and increasing the efficiency of traffic flow management.

Under his care, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) would create connectivity between the skytrain (BTS) and the underground train by building monorail, or light rail, services. He would support scrapping the construction of the planned expressway from Ngam Wong Wan to Prasertmanoonkit Road and replace it with a light railway. 

He would extend the skytrain track from Bearing Station to Samut Prakan for another 11km, and extend the not-yet-constructed skytrain route from Saphan Mai to Lam Luk Ka by 12km. The BMA already has a plan to extend the skytrain from Mor Chit to Saphan Mai.

Pol Gen Pongsapat also envisioned building a light rail centre in Phahon Yothin connecting the 7km between Bang Sue and the Energy Complex on Vibhavadi Road, and wants a connection between Vatcharapol and Rama 9, which are about 15.5km apart.

Another proposal is to build a 7 km tram route on Rattanakosin Island to feed commuters to three mass transit routes, the Orange, Purple and Blue lines.

He also proposes the continuation of free bus services and installation of digital systems to inform bus passengers about travel times.

Pol Gen Pongsapat promised to improve boat services in canals to link them with the mass transit system in the city.

He said a Bangkok traffic centre would be establish to link signals from all CCTV cameras across the city. Traffic would be managed from there through an "intelligent traffic system' controlling traffic lights to speed up traffic flow.

He proposed building four more tunnels along Ratchadapisek Road to ease traffic congestion at intersections along the 45km ring road. New tunnels would be planned at Ratchayothin, Rama 9, Asok-Phetchaburi and Asok.

Recognising the significance of women, MR Sukhumbhand said policies related to women are essential for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

The former city governor aims to propose integrated women policies starting with the safety, so another 24,000 CCTVs will be installed, matching the 24,000 already installed during this four-year term. He aims to connect the system signals from over 200,000 CCTVs owned by private owners. 

He will also recruit volunteers to help improve the safety of people in communities and training women to have self protection skills thought the best defence is running away because women usually physically weaker than men, particularly those with weapons.

MR Sukhumbhand said during his four-year team, the city hall created 50m-fund to reduce domestic violence and created a fund to help women in communities to earn have work to help bring income to the family.       

The BMA will try to educate teenage girls about pregnancy prevention and have the system to help teen girls pregnant without readiness.

On the health concerns, MR Sukhumbhand said the BMA has a policy to provide free health checkup for breast cancer but will try to expand the service to cover cervical cancer test too.

Mr Sopon said Din Daeng apartment developed by the National Housing Authority has been used for 48 years so some buildings should be demolished in phases, reducing numbers of people to be temporary relocated. Then the highrise buildings of 20-30 storeys should be constructed to increase the density of population in the areas.

Related search: Bangkok governor election, Pongsapat Pongcharoen, Sukhumbhand Paribatra, Sopon Pornchokchai

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