Bangkok vans: Relocation to bus terminals bound to fail

Bangkok vans: Relocation to bus terminals bound to fail

Authorities have seized numerous vans, cutting off a method of transportation for commuters without thinking the problem through. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)
Authorities have seized numerous vans, cutting off a method of transportation for commuters without thinking the problem through. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

If govt goes ahead with van ban, vans & commuters will surely come up with much better & safer transportation solution.


Bangkok vans: Relocation to bus terminals bound to fail

Sirinya Wattanasukchai

Like several measures to regulate public transport in the city of Bangkok, the latest move by the Land Transport Department to relocate Bangkok's inter-city van service from Victory Monument will likely fail again.

Under the new measure, the department will relocate all inter-city vans to city bus terminals, namely Ekamai, Mo Chit on Kamphaeng Phet Road, and the southern bus terminal on Boromratchchonnanee Road.

The measure will take effect on Oct 25 -- the start of the school holidays, and low season for van services.


This is the second attempt that state authorities have made to regulate van services, which they blame for inner-city traffic congestion.

The first attempt was moving the service to the Makkasan area, under the Makkasan Station of the Airport Link.


I admire the DLT for taking the initiative to regulate the service, but it's not a well-thought out plan.

It's true that these vans cause traffic problems, and we need to do something about it.

But before we take any action, we need to understand why the van service, despite a poor safety record, is so popular among commuters.

The key to its success is location -- a centre that is connected with the BTS rail system.

There are numerous public buses from all sides of the city to its present Victory Monument location.


The proposed new locations for van services, the Southern Bus terminal, Mo Chit terminal and Ekamai all have problems.

Ekamai, while being on the BTS line, which should make travel to and from the area more convenient, is already a crowded place and may not accommodate vans.

In fact, it's fair to say that the location of the three bus terminals make them uncompetitive for the van-service to operate.

And as a further inconvenience, it has been reported that the Ekamai bus terminal is likely to be relocated to Bang Na in the next few years.

The Mo Chit bus terminal will also be moved further out of the city to Rangsit, to an even more inconvenient place in the next two years.


Imagine an office worker wanting to get out of town.

They can simply take the BTS train to Victory Monument and catch an inter-city van to their destination.

It could take one to two hours for commuters to reach one of the bus terminals.

That will cause more upset to commuters who already have limited choices of transport.

And such limited options may push people to buy a car, which will only add to Bangkok's clogged roads.


But back to Makkasan, the spot is nearly perfect as a permanent terminal for a van service, given its ample space and connection to the rail system.

It's only because the plan that was to be rolled out at Makkasan was impractical that it was scrapped.

Van drivers defied the plans to relocate and went back to VIctory Monument because of sheer inconvenience.

Van drivers were required to park at Makkasan station and then go to Victory Monument to pick up passengers, a plan that just did not work and was quickly rejected.


Needless to say, those who mapped out the plan (and also the new relocation) must be people who have never had to rely on public transport.

As state authorities rack their brains over how to improve the service, I am sure some entrepreneurial types will swoop in and find an alternative for commuters to travel.


Motorcycle taxis, which were actually once illegal, started as a practical way to satisfy the everyday transportation needs of people.

Look at how the motorcycle taxi service first started in Bangkok two decades ago before spreading around the country.

At the time the state was not providing any public transport.


Similarly, look at how app-based taxi services, such as Uber and Grab, started, and have now become hugely popular as consumers are fed up with being rejected by taxi drivers.

And again the state failed to fix the problem.

If authorities are to go ahead with the van ban, don't be surprised if some operators come up with a much better and safer inter-city pooling scheme that rivals the state's one.

It's time the authorities right the wrong and start learning from their old mistakes.

Learn from listening

Click play to listen to audio for this story, or download to save the file
: :


  • accommodate: to provide a place for someone; to provide enough space for something or someone - จัดที่อยู่ให้, ให้ที่พักพิง, บรรจุ
  • actually: used for stressing what is really true or what really happened - ตามความเป็นจริง
  • admire: to respect somebody for what they are or for what they have done - ชมเชย,ยกย่องสรรเสริญ
  • alternative: another choice - ทางเลือก, ตัวเลือก
  • ample: more than enough - มากพอ, เพียงพอ
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • blame: to say or think that someone or something did something wrong or is responsible for something bad happening - ตำหนิ
  • clogged: blocked, so that nothing can get through - ตัน
  • commuters: people who regularly travel between work and home - คนเดินทางระหว่างบ้านและที่ทำงาน
  • congestion: a situation in which a place is crowded with people or vehicles - แน่นขนัดไปด้วยรถหรือคน
  • connected: linked - เชื่อมต่อ เชื่อมโยง
  • connection: something that connects two things, etc. - การเชื่อมต่อ การเชื่อมโยง
  • convenient: easy to do, or not causing problems or difficulties - สะดวก
  • crowded: packed; full of people or things - แน่น
  • decades: periods of ten years - เป็นสิบๆปี
  • defy: to refuse to obey or accept someone or something - ท้า, เป็นปฏิปักษ์ต่อ
  • destination: the place where someone or something is going - จุดหมายปลายทาง
  • entrepreneurial: willing to try to make money by starting or running businesses, especially when this involves taking financial risks entrepreneur - การเกี่ยวกับนักลงทุนทางการเงิน
  • fed up (idiom): annoyed or bored with something that you feel you have accepted for too long - เบื่อ, ผิดหวัง โดยเฉพาะกับสิ่งที่เจอมานาน
  • holiday (noun): vacation; a period of time when you are not at work or school - วันหยุด, วันหยุดเทศกาล
  • illegal: against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
  • imagine: to form a picture of something or someone in your mind - นึกคิด, จินตนาการ, นึกฝัน
  • impractical: of something that cannot be done or used easily or effectively - ซึ่งไม่มีประสิทธิภาพเมื่อนำมาใช้งานจริง,ที่ใช้งานไม่ได้
  • inconvenience: an annoying problem or situation, especially one that forces you to make an extra effort to do something - ความไม่สะดวกสบาย  ความลำบาก
  • inter-: between different things -
  • key: the most important thing - สิ่งที่สำคัญที่สุด
  • Land Transport Department (noun): The department of the Transport Ministry responsible overseeing land transport in the country, setting regulations and issuing drivers licenses - กรมการขนส่งทางบก
  • latest (adj): newest; most recent - ] ล่าสุด, See also: ทันสมัยที่สุด, เกิดหลังสุด
  • limited: not much or enough; not very great in amount or extent - จำกัด
  • location: where someone or something is - ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล
  • mapped out: planned in detail - วางแผน
  • measure: a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop a dangerous unpleasant situation - มาตราการ
  • needless to say: obviously; clearly - แน่นอน
  • numerous: many - มากมาย
  • operate: to carry out an activity like running a business - ดำเนินการ
  • options: choices - ทางเลือก
  • passenger: someone who travels in a motor vehicle, aircraft, train, or ship but is not the driver or one of the people who works on it - ผู้โดยสาร
  • perfect: to make something perfect or as good as you can - ทำให้สมบูรณ์
  • permanent: happening or existing for a long time or for all time in the future - ถาวร  
  • pick up (verb): to get a person/thing at one place to bring them to another place - รับ (ของหรือคน)
  • popular (adj): a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people - เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
  • practical: suitable for the situation in which something is used - ที่ขึ้นอยู่กับความเป็นจริง
  • proposed: suggested as an idea for a group to consider - ถูกเสนอ
  • public transport: the system of buses, trains, etc. provided by the government or by companies, which people use to travel from one place to another - ขนส่งมวลชน
  • rack their brains: think very hard to find a solution to a problem -
  • regulate: to control an activity officially by using rules - ควบคุม
  • reject: to not accept something - ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ
  • relocate: to move something to a new place - ย้ายที่ใหม่
  • rely on: to depend on or trust - พึ่งพา  เชื่อถือ ไว้ใจ
  • rolled out: when something new is introduced; to introduce a new product or service; launch - เปิดตัว, เริ่มนำ
  • satisfy (verb): to provide what is wanted, needed or asked for, to make somebody certain something is true or has been done - สอดคล้องกับ, ตอบสนองความต้องการ
  • scrapped: decided not to continue with something, such as a plan or event - ยุติแผนที่วางไว้
  • season (noun): a period of time during the year - ฤดูกาล, ช่วงเวลา, ระยะเวลา
  • similarly: in the same way or nearly the same way -
  • space: an area or a place that is empty or that can be moved about freely - ที่ว่าง
  • spot: the particular place where someone or something is - ที่, สถานที่
  • state: government - รัฐบาล
  • swoop: to move quickly down from the air, usually to make an attack. - โฉบลงอย่างรวดเร็ว
  • taking the initiative: taking the first step, beginning something by oneself - เริ่มดำเนินการ
  • terminal: a large building at an airport where passengers arrive and leave - อาคารผู้โดยสาร
  • terminal: a large building where passengers arrive and leave - อาคารผู้โดยสาร
  • traffic (noun): the number of cars, trucks and other vehicles traveling along a road at one time - การจราจร
  • transport: moving people or things from one place to another - การขนส่ง
  • uncompetitive: not competitive; not as good as others -
  • upset: to cause to be very worried, angry or sad about something   - ทำให้วิตกกังวล ทำให้หงุดหงิด
  • well-thought out: good logical planning that makes sense; that solves all possible problems -
Do you like the content of this article?