Bidding date set for 2020 for Phuket's new tram network
Will be 60km long and feature 23 stations
Contracts for a new tram network in Phuket will open for bidding in 2020, Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) governor Pakapong Sirikantaramas said Tuesday.
The transit chief made the comments after revealing that consulting firms have already been found for the network's investment plan. According to him, contracts for the investment studies the firm will conduct will be signed by the end of the month.
Mr Pakapong said the studies will take around four months to complete, adding they will be submitted to the MRTA board for approval by early next year, after which they will be reviewed by the Transport Ministry.
Phuket's estimated 39-billion-baht tram network is part of the government's Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) fast-track plan, which encourages organisations to quickly kick-start any projects included in the plan.
They include the MRT Pink Line and Yellow Line monorail networks in Bangkok and its metropolitan area.
Initial reports from a blueprint by the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) on Phuket's tram network indicate that it will be 60km long and comprise 23 stations.
The planned route stretches from Takua Thung district in Phangnga to Chalong intersection in Phuket, which would make it the first tram network in the southern region when it is completed in 2021.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak last week urged transport authorities to start bidding for all of the ministry's projects before the general election in February. This included Phuket's tram network. But authorities have confirmed the bidding for this project will start in 2020.
According to MRTA reports, the first phase of the tramway will run from Phuket International Airport to the Chalong intersection, which will take around three years to complete. The distance between the two terminals is about 40km.
The authority said 70,000 passengers are likely to use the first phase, as it passes by more than 40 schools and several commercial districts in the province.
Ticket fares will reportedly range from 15-25 baht.
In a similar development, Mr Pakapong said consulting firms for a planned tram network in Nakhon Ratchasima will be appointed by the end of the year.
According to the Transport Ministry, the network is valued at 32.6 billion baht and will be split into three phases, with two routes to be built under phase one.
The first of these, the Dark Green line, will stretch from Save One Market to the Ban Nari Sawat Centre of Protection and Professional Development, both in Muang district.
This 11km route will have 18 stations and has been valued at 14 billion baht.
The second route, comprising the Dark Orange line, will stretch 9.8km from Pradok intersection in Mueang district to Khu Mueang Kao (literally, "the Old Moat") in Non Sung district. It will cost 4.9 billion baht, authorities said.
The ministry reports state that the second and third phases should be submitted for approval soon.
The OTP said studies have also been completed for a tram network in Chiang Mai.
All concerned parties concluded that it should combine underground and regular stations, the report added. Bidding is due to start in 2020.
The now 86-billion-baht project has also been split into three lines -- Red, Blue and Green -- with each line set to take around three years to construct.