Free rides along Red Line until November
The three-month trial period on the Red Line electric commuter train service officially began with a soft launch presided over by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha via video conference on Monday.
Commuters will be able to ride along the Red Line for free until November, when full commercial services are expected to begin, according to the State Railway of Thailand.
Gen Prayut said the Red Line provides a convenient, safe and fast transport option for people commuting within Bangkok's inner and outer suburbs, which would in turn help stimulate the economy by providing new business opportunities along the line.
SRT governor, Nirut Maneephan, said services on the Red Line run from 6am to 8pm every day during the trial period, with trains departing every 15 minutes during rush hours, or 30 minutes in off-peak periods.
A four-carriage train can carry up to 550 people. During the pandemic, carriages will be limited to half-capacity to allow enough room for social distancing.
Mr Nirut said that it takes about 25 minutes to cover 10 stations on the 26-kilometre section between Bang Sue and Rangsit and 15 minutes for the three-station section between Bang Sue and Taling Chan.
Public buses will stop at Red Line train stations to allow easier onward connections. The SRT has asked the Department of Land Transport and the Bangkok Metropolitan Transport Authority to re-route some public bus routes to serve the stations, he said.
Taxi stands will also be set up under each station, Mr Nirut added.
The Red Line, which connects the city's northern and southern suburbs with inner city areas, is linked to other electric train lines.
At Bang Sue Grand Station, commuters can transfer to the MRT's Blue Line, which is further connected to other lines. Commuters can also take the Pink Line monorail at an interchange at Laksi station. There is also a skywalk which connects Don Mueang station with Don Mueang airport.