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Bangkok Skytrain (BTS)

 

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The BTS system (the elevated metro system owned by BMA) was initially referred to as the Lavalin Skytrain because it was to be designed using the Vancouver SkyTrain as a model adopting the technology developed by SNC-Lavalin. Due to political interference, the concession with Lavalin was cancelled in 1992, in spite of Bangkok's chronic traffic congestion. The Thai Government focused on increasing road and expressway infrastructure in an attempt to combat congestion. However, this had less than the desired impact as the number of cars on the road increased dramatically. The lines considered under the skytrain project became later the basis for the Bangkok Metro system and interesting enough are mainly underground.

The 'Skytrain' name was given to the system later by the press. It stuck and will likely be kept even though the portion of system through the historic Rattanakosin island will one day be below grade.

Originally, the Skytrain depot was to be built in Lumphini Park, but due to widespread objections from Bangkok residents it was constructed on a parcel of land located along Phahonyothin Road, replacing the old Northern/Northeastern bus terminal (Mo Chit). The current depot at Mo Chit is a part of the proposed 'Bangkok Terminal' project, where a large complex comprising a new regional bus terminal, park & ride facility and other commercial development can be built directly above it.

Originally, the Skytrain depot was to be built in Lumphini Park, but due to widespread objections from Bangkok residents it was constructed on a parcel of land located along Phahonyothin Road, replacing the old Northern/Northeastern bus terminal (Mo Chit). The current depot at Mo Chit is a part of the proposed 'Bangkok Terminal' project, where a large complex comprising a new regional bus terminal, park & ride facility and other commercial development can be built directly above it.

The Skytrain system was officially opened on December 5, 1999 by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. It initially had lower-than-predicted ridership, with 200,000 passenger trips per day. Ticket revenue was only enough to meet the trains' operating cost, and not sufficient to service construction loans. However, the Skytrain's daily passenger numbers have steadily increased since then. On December 9, 2005, more than 500,000 single trips were made on the Skytrain in a single day for the first time. BTSC is currently planning to purchase more trains and is studying the possibility of putting 6-car trains into service. The company implemented a contactless ticketing system in 2007, and plans to allow both BTS and MRT passengers to use their RFID smart cards as single ticketing system early 2010.

BTS Skytrain operates from 06.00 - 24.00 hours everyday with two main lines -- Sukhumwit and Silom lines. 

Mo Chit (Northern Bus Terminal) - Onnut Line or Sukhumwit Line
This line is 17 kilometres in length covering 17 stations as follows:
Mo Chit – Saphan Khuai – Ari – Sanam Pao – Victory Monument – Phaya Thai – Ratchathewi – Siam Square – Chit Lom – Phloen Chit – Asok – Sukhumvit – Phrom Phong – Thong Lo – Ekkamai (Eastern Bus Terminal) – Phra Khanong – On Nut

National Stadium - Taksin Bridge Line or Silom Line
This line has a length of 6.5 km and covers only 7 stations as follows:
National Stadium – Siam Square – Ratchadamri – Sala Daeng – Chong Nonsi – Surasak – Saphan Taksin

Passengers can change their routes at the Interchange Station at Siam Square. Apart from being the fastest means of transportation, the skytrain has two more advantages -- it offers a panoramic view of Bangkok and it stops at several prime shopping centres lying along Silom, Ratchadamri, and Sukhumwit roads.
Interchange stations with MRT are also provided at Mo Chit, Sukhumvit, and Sala Daeng stations.
The fares range from 15 to 45 baht based on the distance travelled. One Day Pass is available at the cost of 120 baht.

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