Commuters were thrilled to join the first Yellow Line monorail trial run on Saturday. Many had flocked to Samrong station in Samut Prakan since 9am.
Anantatorn Saijeen, 42, took his three-year-old daughter with him to see if he could rely on the Yellow Line to avoid traffic congestion in his travel to Srinakarin Road.
"I have not been to this neighbourhood for a long while because of its grave traffic congestion. Today I brought my daughter to hang out as she has never been on a skytrain before. She really likes it but complains that the route is too short," Mr Anantatorn said.
The Yellow Line is Thailand's first straddle-beam monorail. It connects Lat Phrao in Bangkok with Samrong in Samut Prakan. There are 23 stations along the 30.4-kilometre line but during the first two weeks of the trial, the service is open only for 13 stations from Hua Mak to Samrong. The travel time is about 30 minutes.
Kit Krasaesom, 29, an engineer, said he wanted to try the first monorail service to know what it would be like.
He found that riding the Yellow Line train was not as smooth as riding other BTS skytrains as he could feel that it was a bit shaky. He also said that each station is quite high from the ground and might scare those who are afraid of heights.
"This monorail will ease the congestion on Srinakarin Road. If all 23 stations are fully operating, the traffic on Lat Phrao Road will be less hectic as well," he said.
Natcha Samma, 54, said she wanted to join the trial run to see if it was convenient to use to commute to work. She lives in Soi Lasalle and works in Seacon Square Mall. After testing the service on Saturday, she said she preferred taking the Yellow Line as opposed to taking public vans and buses to work. She said the train tickets are as cheap as the bus fares but riding the train is more convenient.
The monorail Yellow Line is open for a trial run without service charge until the end of this month. Service hours are from 9am to 8pm daily. The company with the line's concession until 2053 is the Eastern Bangkok Monorail (EBM), an affiliate of the Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC).
With a maximum speed of 80km/h, the monorail holds four carriages that can carry up to 568 passengers each, or about 17,000 passengers per hour, said BTSC CEO Surapong Laoha-Unya.
He said the Yellow Line is expected to begin commercial operation next month, with fares ranging from 15 to 45 baht. The fares, however, will be adjusted, based on the consumer price index for the previous three months, before full service begins, he said.
The Yellow Line is interlinked with the Green Line at Samrong Station, the Airport Rail Link at Hua Mak Station and the Blue Line at Lat Phrao Station, he said. Soon the Yellow Line will also be connected to the Orange Line via Yaek Lam Sali station, he added.
Passengers can install BTSC's "The SKYTRAINs" mobile app and access it for more updates on city trains and information on stations, he added.