City bus station plan takes shape

The Transport Co has vowed to move ahead with plans to relocate Mor Chit 2 bus terminal and Ekamai bus station to meet passenger demand.

Company president Wuthichart Kalyanamitra said discussions over the relocation of Mor Chit terminal will be held this week so the plans can be forwarded to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) for consideration.

The discussions will take note of a study conducted by King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, which recommended new relocation sites and forms of investment that can be adopted to push the projects through.

Relocating Mor Chit terminal is expected to cost around 1.5 billion baht, most of which will be spent on land. The price tag for moving the Ekamai station has not yet been estimated.

Mr Wuthichart said three possible methods of investment in the projects are being explored.

First, the new terminal may be wholly funded by the Transport Co, which could secure a loan or use its own coffers.

Second, a joint venture between the Transport Co and private firms may be established to pursue the project.

Third, business operators could wholly invest in the project, allowing them rights to operate the terminal commercially.

He said that more than 100 rai of land must be acquired to build the new Mor Chit terminal. The current location is too small, with just 80 rai, he said.

An area on Phahon Yothin Road may be used for the terminal since it could serve a large number of bus passengers on the northern and northeastern routes.

"It is certain that the Mor Chit bus station will be relocated because the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), which owns the current land, wants to take the area back for development," Mr Wuthichart said.

The relocation cannot be completed within one year as requested by the SRT. In fact, construction of the terminal could take more than three years.

The Transport Co also plans to relocate the eastern bus terminal at Ekamai because the seven-rai station is congested.

The terminal is in heart of the city, causing severe traffic jams in the Sukhumvit area.

According to Mr Wuthichart, the company is looking at areas along the Bang Na-Trat Road for the eastern terminal's new location.

Methods of investment similar to those floated for the Mor Chi terminal project would be considered, he said.

The Transport Co also plans to rent 100 single-decker buses to replace double-decker buses which will be decommissioned this year, he said, adding the issue is pending NCPO approval.

After a spate of accidents, the double-decker buses have been deemed unsafe.

Meanwhile, Land Transport Department (LTD) chief Asdsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket said yesterday the department and the 2nd cavalry division will meet passenger van operators and drivers this week to inform them of new rules to better regulate van services.

Stickers will be issued to vans which are under 10 years old, are equipped with basic safety features and whose drivers have passed mandatory training tests.

The stickers are to be affixed on the van's windshields.

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