Passengers to Face Worsening Services at Bangkok Transport Infrastructures

Due to increased popularity and the incapacity of authorities to cope with the rise in traffic, passengers to and from Bangkok are sure to be confronted with crowded facilities from the airport express train to immigration lanes and security screening…

It is a constant feature of public services in Bangkok. As soon as something happens, signage are posted at stations to apologize about the inconvenience caused about defect ticket machines, long queues, broken escalators, etc.. etc… However, improving facilities are still not seen as a priority for public institutions. It is a long tradition due to the process of doing business. Any new project taking shape in Bangkok or in other provinces in Thailand has to face incredible delays before to really start. With the consequence of facilities being built are not re-ajusted to the expected volume of users.

Best example is Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport. The new structure has been delayed for decades. When it opened in 2006, it offered an initial capacity for 45 million passengers when Bangkok Don Mueang airport already had over 40 million passengers. After two years in service, Suvarnabhumi was already congested. And a new satellite, supposed to be build by 2012 to add an additional capacity for 15 million passengers, finally started to get out of the ground last year.

When finished in 2020/2021, authorities already know that the total capacity for 60 million passengers will already be far behind the total number of passengers using the airport. Last year, Suvarnabhumi already welcomed 59.1 million passengers! But no one at the Airports Authority of Thailand thought that the future satellite should now take more passengers…

This week, authorities warned already travellers to come three hours in advance just to pass the immigration control due to the expected number of travellers during Thai New Year on April 12.

Suvarnabhumi is just an example among dozens of cases of mismanagement of capacities at Thailand infrastructure, particularly for transportation. Anyone has been stuck for 15 minutes or more at Expressways in Bangkok as they are not enough booths to collect the money. Recently social networks have been invaded by complaints about the airport express being totally crowded with long queues just to buy a ticket and then to board a train. Same story: SRT (the State Railways of Thailand) has been incapable of planning the right capacity for its trains.

They are not the only ones to be blamed. The Bangkok Transit System which runs the Skytrain is confronted every day during peak hours at flows of passengers being blocked as they have to let pass two or three trains to board due to congestion.

Thailand is of course not the only country to suffer from congested infrastructure due to bad planning. Unfortunately, no one seems to learn from past mistakes in planning and take responsibility. With the sad fact that users will continue to be confronted to bad transportation conditions…