Smart buses a priority for Democrats

Smart buses a priority for Democrats

Party's policies also target food stalls

Electric buses have been tested on Bangkok routes, but the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) never has committed to employing them. (File photo)
Electric buses have been tested on Bangkok routes, but the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) never has committed to employing them. (File photo)

The Democrat Party rolled out its policy platform Sunday, aimed at upgrading Bangkok residents' quality of life, including a smart bus project to push for 5,000 electric buses in seven years, making Bangkok a world-class tourist spot and promoting clean and well-organised food stalls.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the policies are not pipe dreams but are based on feedback the party gathered from city residents.

"The party has come up with these policies because we understand the lifestyle of Bangkok residents. These policies are not castles in the air, but we have gathered the needs and problems facing people in Bangkok,'' Mr Abhisit said.

"Bangkok must be liveable, beautiful and clean. It must be a city of opportunities and a safe place to live,'' Mr Abhisit said.

The policies include a smart bus project to provide Bangkok commuters with 5,000 electric buses in seven years. The party also has a policy to subsidise privately owned bus operators on the condition they do not increase bus fares.

Another policy is to promote "smart taxis'' by legalising drivers who use personal cars to provide services via ride-hailing mobile apps and making it easy to obtain public transport licences, Mr Abhisit said.

The party has also come up with a policy called "Blue Stalls of Good Quality'' to regulate food stalls to make sure they are clean and safe. A centre will be set up to bring vendors together. It will be equipped with a various facilities.

Another urgent policy is to increase the number of green areas by turning unused places belonging to state agencies into public parks, Mr Abhisit said.

He added that if the party becomes government, it would try to complete putting all overhead electricity wires and telecom cables underground by 2022. It also plans to dredge Bangkok's drainage systems every six months to prevent flood problems.

The party also aims to make Bangkok the world's leading tourist spot as the city has the potential but lacks proper management, Mr Abhisit said.

Business operators and communities in key commercial and tourism areas such as Yaowarat, Thong Lor, Silom, and Khao San Road will be contacted so they can provide feedback on possible ways in which their areas can receive a "facelift", he said.

Some areas will be turned into walking streets for certain periods, he added.

Another policy is to make an application named "City Ok'' to relay complaints and problems such as damaged roads or clogged drainage systems to City Hall and other state agencies, among other policies, Mr Abhisit said, adding that these policies now appear on the party's website.


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