Bus hub move can halt terminal decline
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Bus hub move can halt terminal decline

The Ministry of Transport recently decided to move the bus terminal for Thailand's Northern and Northeastern bus routes, currently at Mor Chit, out of town to the Rangsit area. The relocation of the bus hub is expected to be complete within the next two years.

For those living in Bangkok, that means travelling a greater distance — approximately 20km or so — to get to the bus station if they are to travel upcountry by bus. This increased distance will definitely affect people who are in need of using the public bus service.

The next question is how long it will take to travel from inner Bangkok to an area such as Rangsit. Of course, the answer depends on your whereabouts in the capital city. It could range from half an hour to several hours.

Traffic, especially in Bangkok, is definitely uncertain. Despite the fact that urbanites now have several modes of transportation to choose from — buses, vans, taxis and motorcycle taxis — to get to the new bus station, it will still be very challenging given the unpredictability of Bangkok traffic.

Despite all this, I personally agree with the relocation of the bus station. I consider it to be good news as these days when I am on my way home, passing the current Mor Chit station located in the Chatuchak area, the traffic can get really bad, especially on Friday nights. It can get even worse during long holidays when many people head back to their hometowns. Therefore, especially for Bangkok citizens, the moving of the bus station could be considered a benefit.

Most of the developed countries of the world have tried to decentralise when it comes to their public transportation. For example, in London, there are a huge number of train stations scattered around town, but all stations are nonetheless still connected by the London Underground.

It's an undeniable fact that Bangkok is still very centralised. Take, for example, Victory Monument, one of the landmarks of the city, which serves also as the centre for public transportation. No matter where your destination is, you can always start at Victory Monument. Vans are available along the road with many other transportation choices. But despite those travelling options, traffic around that area is always unacceptable.

To support the plan of moving the Mor Chit bus terminal, there needs to be rail transportation that links it from the bus station back into the city. Luckily enough it seems like soon we will have more and more rail transportation connecting parts of the city together.

Rangsit station is also in the pipeline. However, according to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Soithip Trisuddhi, right now parties involved are still discussing where exactly in Rangsit the new bus terminal will be constructed.

In the meantime, we still need to keep our fingers crossed over whether the new bus centre will be connected to the new rail station.

Another question is whether the rail station will open once the bus terminal is ready.

In 2007, the bus terminal for the Southern route was relocated from Pinklao Road to Boromarajonani Road — only 5.6km away.

This definitely helped decrease the number of buses trying to get into town. But again, people still find it hard to get to the new station. Up until now, there has been no rail transport link that can get people who want to travel south to the new bus terminal.

The bus station in eastern Bangkok, which is now located at Ekamai, could even be moved out to somewhere near Suvarnabhumi airport, as that location marks the gateway to the east of the city and the Airport Rail Link is already available.

Apart from solving traffic problems in town, this could also boost the number of Airport Rail Link customers.

After all, it is evident there is still a long way to go for Bangkok to have a comprehensive, well-connected public transportation system like countries such as Japan or the UK. But until that time, the population of the capital still have no other choice but to struggle through the traffic of this perplexing city.

Pattramon Sukprasert is a feature writer for Bangkok Post's Life.

Pattramon Sukprasert

Feature writer

Pattramon Sukprasert is a feature writer for Life section of the Bangkok Post.

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