Mor Chit 2 move risks chaos, warns expert

Grand Station traffic woes 'will worsen'

Urban planners say congestion like this outside the current Mor Chit bus terminal might seem nostalgic if the government presses ahead with its project to move Mor Chit 2 terminal back to its old spot at Chatuchak district. (Bangkok Post file photo by Krit Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)

An urban planning academic has called on the government to review the proposal to relocate the Mor Chit 2 bus terminal back to its original spot in Chatuchak district, over concerns it would exacerbate the heavy traffic in the area.

Prapatpong Upala, deputy dean of the Faculty of Architecture at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, said the Transport Ministry's decision to move Mor Chit 2 terminal from Zone C in Bang Sue Grand Station to its old home near the Chatuchak BTS station should be carefully considered.

The old Mor Chit terminal is currently being used as a BTS SkyTrain maintenance depot.

He said the relocation would add to traffic congestion in the area near the grand station, which is in the process of being developed as a transport hub.

Mr Prapatpong, also a member of a research team focusing on mass transportation access in special economic zones, suggested the government consider some key issues, including the cost of the project, any conflict between the city's transportation master plan and other planned developments, access to the old Mor Chit terminal, and passenger capacity.

According to deputy transport minister Pichit Akrathit, the ministry agreed to relocate the Mor Chit 2 terminal from Bang Sue Grand Station to the old terminal which sits on Treasury Department land and covers about 710,000 square metres.

Higher buildings and new technologies will be developed to accommodate the passenger terminals, according to Mr Pichit.

The bus terminal at Mor Chit 2 is due to be relocated to return the land it currently sits on to the State Railway of Thailand, which has business development plans for which it wishes to use the land to turn into more profitable ventures.

Nowadays, about 150,000 passengers use the service at Mor Chit 2 daily.

The bus terminal is an important transport hub for people travelling to northern and northeastern Thailand. It is especially important for middle to low income families who do not own their own cars.

A feasibility study on the potential environmental impact on surrounding communities must also be conducted, particularly with regards to traffic flow, noise and air pollution.

The government should study the number of passengers and buses passing through the Mor Chit 2 terminal during normal and long holiday periods, he said, adding the new building should offer internet access.

The government should speed up the revamp of the terminal so that it is attractive to people and encourages them to take buses rather than use private cars or other modes of transport, adding the terminal should be easy for people to reach.

Mr Prapatpong also suggested the government regulate terminals operated by private inter-provincial bus operators in the interest of public safety.

The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning said the ministry and various other agencies including the Treasury Department had completed a feasibility study on traffic management which takes some of these concerns into account.

Local authorities aim to connect the old Mor Chit station to the Green Line and Blue Line trains and the Bangkok Metropolitan Transportation Authority's buses, to make commuting in the city more convenient, it said. The development of facilities has also been carefully studied in the plan, the agency said.

The development of the old terminal is being supervised by Bangkok Terminal Co Ltd.

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