Commuters face rail travel woes
published : 20 Jan 2023 at 09:06
writer: Gary Boyle
ORIGINAL SOURCE/WRITER: Apichin Chitviriyakul
The State Railway of Thailand made a big change in its 126-year history on Thursday when long-distance train services to the North, Northeast and South of the country moved from Hua Lamphong station to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal, formerly known as Bang Sue Grand Station, in Chatuchak district.
The aim is to use the new station to reduce traffic congestion around a number of level crossings near the old rail hub in Bangkok.
The ministry plans to renovate the 121-rai Hua Lamphong area for commercial purposes while the old terminal, which was constructed more than a century ago, will become a museum.
Yet the move to relocate services to the new station is facing some criticism from passengers and opposition from the State Railway Workers Union of Thailand.
Recently, the union conducted a passenger survey and found that the majority of train users want all train services to continue operating out of Hua Lamphong station instead of Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal, despite shuttle buses being offered free of charge to connect the two stations.
The main concern is that public transportation will become more difficult and expensive for passengers, said the deputy leader of the Democratic Party.
"The closure of Hua Lamphong will cause suburban commuters to suffer and pay higher fares," he said, adding that constructing tunnels or overpasses could have solved traffic problems without the need to close Hua Lamphong station.
A construction worker said he regularly used Hua Lamphong station before it was closed.
"It has been this way for a long time ... [relocating services] would cause confusion and make it more difficult for some to travel," he told the Bangkok Post.
A 66-year-old frequent traveller said passengers would suffer additional costs.
"When people take the train to Bangkok, they expect to arrive at Hua Lamphong," she said. "With the change, the [travel] distance will be even greater, costing more to travel from the train station to their final destination."
A motorbike taxi driver near Hua Lamphong station now expects the number of his customers to drop by half.
"I believe that some trains moving to Bang Sue will reduce the number of people who come here, lowering my income," he said.
For some, the SRT's commercialisation plans for the Hua Lamphong area could be beneficial, especially to those selling goods to tourists, said a coffee shop owner near the station.
She said the public is still confused about whether the authorities will simply relocate some trains or close the station entirely.
Learn from listening
- beneficial: helpful or good - มีประโยชน์
- commercial: for business purposes - เกี่ยวกับการค้า
- commuters: people who regularly travel between work and home - คนเดินทางระหว่างบ้านและที่ทำงาน
- confusion: a feeling that you do not understand something or cannot decide what to do - ความสับสน
- congestion: a situation in which a place is crowded with people or vehicles - แน่นขนัดไปด้วยรถหรือคน
- criticism: comments that show that you think something is wrong or bad - การวิจารณ์
- entirely: completely; in every way possible - โดยทั้งหมด, โดยสิ้นเชิง
- hub: the central and most important part of a particular place or activity - จุดศูนย์กลาง, จุดรวม
- income: money that someone gets from working or from investing money - รายได้
- level crossing (n): a place where a train line and a road meet -
- majority: more than 50 percent of a group - เสียงส่วนใหญ่
- opposition: strong disagreement with a plan or policy - ความขัดแย้ง
- overpass: a bridge that carries a road or railway over another road - สะพานข้าม
- relocate: to move something to a new place - ย้ายที่ใหม่
- renovate: to make something old look new again by repairing and improving it, especially a building - การตบแต่งหรือซ่อมปรับปรุงสถานที่
- shuttle (noun): a vehicle that takes people frequently between two places - รถส่งไปส่งมา
- suffer: to experience something very unpleasant or painful - ประสบ
- woes: great problems or troubles - ความเสียใจ, ความทุกข์ร้อน