Phuket tram bids set for mid-2020

Phuket tram bids set for mid-2020

Locals and tourists visit Nakkerd Hill lookout, which afford sweeping views of Phuket and its beaches. Perched on top of the hill is the marble-covered 'Big Buddha', which stands 45 metres tall and 25 metres wide. (Sarot Meksophawannakul)
Locals and tourists visit Nakkerd Hill lookout, which afford sweeping views of Phuket and its beaches. Perched on top of the hill is the marble-covered 'Big Buddha', which stands 45 metres tall and 25 metres wide. (Sarot Meksophawannakul)

Bidding for construction of a 35-billion-baht tram system in Phuket is likely to take place in the middle of next year, according to the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA).

MRTA governor Pakapong Sirikantaramas said the revised design of the light rail system is pending consideration by the MRTA's board, and when approved it will be forwarded to the Transport Ministry and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) committee for approval.

The MRTA has tweaked the design of the 41.7-kilometre tram line, which will run from Phuket International Airport to Chalong intersection, to include tunnels and elevated sections to avoid an adverse impact on traffic.

The scheme will be developed under the PPP Net Cost scheme, whereby the private sector shoulders investment costs and risks besides the government's 27 billion baht investment, and shares revenue with the government under a 28-year concession contract covering three years of construction and 25 years of operation.

He said the system is expected to serve 70,000 passengers per day with fares collected based on the distance travelled up to a 137-baht maximum per trip.

As for development of the mass transit systems in Bangkok, the MRTA governor said bidding for the 200-billion-baht western section of the MRTA's Orange Line will be delayed for five months pending a review of investment models.

Based on earlier media reports, there are disagreements over construction methods and operating options between the Transport Ministry and the Finance Ministry.

Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who oversees the Transport Ministry, is said to prefer the main route and the extension to be separated into two different contracts while the Finance Ministry reportedly wants the entire project to proceed under one agreement.

Once completed, the 35.9-kilometre track will link the Thailand Cultural Centre with Bang Khun Non on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River.

Mr Pakapong said the MRTA is still finalising details involving the extensions of the Pink (Sirat-Muang Thong Thani) and Yellow (Lat Phrao-Phahon Yothin 24) lines.


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