THE Transport Ministry is pushing for the opening of the Blue Line extension on the Hua Lamphong-Bang Khae route, ending at Lak Song Station before schedule in September next year to boost passenger numbers.
Operator of the Blue Line subway, Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc (BEM), expressed confidence that the number of passengers would rise 10 per cent and income would increase more than 10 per cent next year thanks to the Blue Line extension.
Deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn said that the Blue Line extension from Hua Lamphong to Bang Khae has seen much progress and the loop of its 10 stations, ending at Lak Song station, is expected to commence service ahead of schedule in September 2019. The extension of the Tao Poon-Thaphra route is expected to start service within 2020.
After the two Blue Line extensions of Hua Lamphong-Bang Khae and Bang Sue-Thaphra open services, the MRT Blue Line will have the complete loop and passengers will be able to travel to both the east and the west of Bangkok, which will help relieve congestion at Siam Station and Sukhumvit, Pailin said.
Pakapong Sirikantaramas, governor of Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), said that the authority has been discussing with the private sector to open the Blue Line extension of Hua Lamphong-Bang Khae ahead of schedule. But the new schedule is yet to be finalised as the project is waiting for the electricity system and train testing.
The service schedule for the Blue Line extension on the Bang Sue-Thaphra segment remains the same – April 2020, he said.
After the whole loop of the Blue Line subway opens in 2020, the number of passengers on the Purple Line’s Bang Yai-Tao Poon section is expected to reach 100,000 per day, thanks to more convenience for travel between Nonthaburi and Thon Buri. The current figure is 60,000 passengers per day.
The Pink Line Khae Rai-Min Buri section and the Yellow Line Lat Phrao-Samrong section are still on schedule.
Sombat Kitjalaksana, managing director of BEM, said: “Next year will be a good year for the company, as we will upgrade our service with more routes, more stations, efficiency and system improvement. We’re confident that when the Hua Lamphong-Lak Song section opens for service, there will be 100,000 more passengers per day and this will help increase the number of passengers by no less than 70,000 per day on the Blue and Purple Lines.”
Next year is expected to see a 10 per cent rise in the number of passengers, while income is estimated to grow more than 10 per cent thanks to the planned service commencement of the Blue Line extension.
This year is expected to see the number of passengers rise 5 per cent to about 330,000 passengers per day, while BEM’s income is forecast to increase 8 per cent, he said.
Every week, from Monday to Friday, about 360,000 passengers use the MRT Blue Line service each day. About 68,000 passengers use the Purple Line on Bang Yai-Tao Poon and about 70-80 per cent are passengers who transit to the Blue Line.