Last Sunday after completing a 30-km ride around Benjakiti Park with Markus (fifteen times around the 2-km bike path) but before heading home, I rode out to Sukhumvit 101, near the very edge of the province of Khrungthep.
The week before I had driven to a vendor’s showroom out in that neighborhood and had wanted to take pictures of the progress of the Skytrain extension, but there was nowhere convenient to stop. On a Sunday morning and with a bicycle, it was easier to stop and document the construction.
The Skytrain, the nearly seven-year old elevated rail system, along with the underground MRTA system, have provided a lot of relief to Khrungthep commuters. Prior to these transit systems opening, traffic was really a mess.
The good news is that the system is expanding: an extension across the Chao Phraya River is nearly done, the airport line will be finished late next year, and two new MRTA lines extending north and to the west into Thonburi are slated to begin construction soon. There is also an extension down Sukhumvit, the city’s main northwest-southeast artery, that will run from the current terminus at On Nut all the way to the provincial border at Bang Na.
Above: The construction of Punnawithi Station, which is referenced as “Sukhumvit 101” on this master transit plan map. Note the equipment they use to hoist the preformed concrete viaduct pieces into place using the hanging cables. After a section is done, it is rolled forward to the next pillar.
Below: From a pedestrian bridge just south of the future Punnawithi Station, I was able to look north (back towards On Nut, Thong Lo, Asoke, and Siam) along Sukhumvit:
Below: And then south towards Bang Na and the provincial border.
It is very exciting to see this progressing. Still another two years or so until it is completed, but it should help reduce traffic significantly.
Amazing Race, Khrungthep
On the subject of traffic and the effects of transit, yesterday evening Tawn and I conducted a little test. We left our condo on Sukhumvit 53 (Thong Lo station on the map linked to above) and headed to an event at Lumpini Night Bazaar (Lumpini station on the map). It was 5:50 on Sunday afternoon and Tawn wanted to drive, but I felt traffic would be heavy.
So we agreed (amicably) that I would take transit and he would drive. As we walked out the front door of the condo and Tawn headed for the car park, I hailed a motorcycle taxi. Two minutes later I was standing on the platform of Thong Lor station while Tawn was still making his way out to the main street.
At 6:12 I exited Lumpini station, having made the connection from Skytrain to MRTA at Asoke station. An easy five minutes’ walk later I was at the BEC Tero Hall in the Night Bazaar. I called Tawn: he was stuck on Sukhumvit headed towards Asoke.
At 6:45 Tawn arrived, having caved into the traffic and parked at his father’s office on Sukhumvit Soi 12 and taken a motorcycle taxi the rest of the way. The motorcycle taxi cost him 80 baht and my transit cost me less than 50.
Conclusion: Let’s get those transit projects built!
Bravo to the Public Transportation System!
The motorcycle taxi in Bangkok almost gives me an heart attack last time I was on 🙂
That looks impressive and I’m glad the gov’t is investing in this.
Did Tawn bow down to you and say, ” my master, your word is my command from now on? ” LOL. I am glad he was able to meet up with you sooner than later.
The whole scenario has changed so much since our last trip there in the mid eighties. Very progressive and impressive.