Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has stressed the necessity of ending all train services to and from Hua Lamphong railway terminal. Daily rides into the station will be initially reduced to 22 from 118, to ease traffic congestion caused by periodical closures of roads at level crossings.
Many commuters have protested against the substantial cut in train services to the station, noting that this increases their expenses as they have to continue their daily journey to work in town from Bang Sue grand station by bus, instead of directly from Hua Lamphong station, which is in the city centre.
Saksayam said today (Monday), however, that he will discuss the operation of city bus services with the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, to arrange for a special feeder bus service to bring commuters from Bang Sue grand station to inner Bangkok.
In addition, he said he will negotiate with BTS Skytrain and Metropolitan Rapid Transit (MRT) to arrange special discount tickets for commuters who disembark at Bang Sue grand station.
Regarding the Hua Lamphong terminal itself, which is on spacious prime real estate, the transport minister said that the State Railways of Thailand has set up the SRT Asset Company Limited (SRTA), to manage its assets for commercial purposes, to reduce its accumulated operational debts, estimated at about 600 billion baht.
The SRT’s assets in Bangkok include several prime plots of land, including Hua Lamphong, the Thonburi train station, the Mae Nam railway station and the Royal City Avenue land.
The SRTA projects that the company will earn 5 billion baht revenue from the development of its assets in the first year, to be increased to 10 billion baht by the fifth year and up to 800 billion baht within 30 years.
It has been proposed that Hua Lamphong terminal be preserved as a museum, instead of being developed into a commercial complex, the minister said, adding that he has to make a decision which may not please some people because he has to address the SRT’s mountain of debt.
The timing for the complete cessation of all train services at the station remains unclear, but an initial proposal has scheduled it on December 23rd.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service