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Showing posts with label Transport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Transport. Show all posts

Sunday, September 23, 2018

It won't burn down: Architect defends vision for #Bangkok airport


Bangkok’s main airport is planning to add a $1.3 billion terminal with extensive wooden cladding and a forested landscape, spurring concern about fire risk. Its designer says there’s no need to worry.

Tropical forests inspired the blueprint for the building and the aim is to give travelers a feeling of Thailand’s uniqueness, 52-year-old architect Duangrit Bunnag said in an interview. He rejected concerns from the Engineering Institute of Thailand that the structure could be a fire hazard.

“Airports tend to have similar features -- they’re white, cold and metallic,” Duangrit said. “I wanted a design that immediately gives travelers the feeling they’ve arrived in Thailand. It will be a metal structure covered with wood. Different treatments can be applied to the timber to ensure fire resistance.”

Airports of Thailand Pcl, the biggest Asian airport operator by market capitalization, announced last month that it was awarding the design contract to a joint bid by Duangrit Bunnag Architect Ltd. and Japan’s Nikken Sekkei Ltd.
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 The state-controlled firm expects to boost annual passenger capacity by 30 million by building a second terminal at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi international airport. Construction is due to start next year and finish by 2021.

A tourism boom is straining the country’s infrastructure, putting pressure on officials to tackle bottlenecks. Foreign arrivals could hit 40 million next year -- equivalent to more than half the population.

Duangrit’s design features sweeping arches and giant columns clad in wood. He also proposed an enclosed tropical-forest landscape spanning about 16,000 square meters between two buildings of the terminal. Passengers would be able to see but not to enter the landscape, a symbol for ecological protection.

“The difficulty in designing the terminal is how to make it memorable to travelers from around the world,” Duangrit said. “How do I make it look different to all the other airports?”

Source - TheJakartaPost 

https://12go.asia/?z=581915

Saturday, September 1, 2018

#Thailand - 14,000 taxi drivers arrested in 12 months: police


More than 14,000 taxi drivers have been arrested and fined for breaking the law, including refusing to accept passengers, during the past year, a deputy tourist police chief said Friday.

Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal, deputy commissioner of the Tourist Police Bureau, held a press conference in Phaholyothin with the Land Transport Department to announce results of the operation to clean up the taxi trade launched last September.

Surachet said police from several agencies, including tourist police, and 191 Special Operation police and officials of the Land Transport Department, have been enforcing the law against taxi drivers so passengers would not be exploited.
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 Surachet said 4,811 taxi drivers were arrested for refusing to accept passengers without justification, which violated Article 93 of the Land Traffic Act.

Source - TheNation 

https://12go.asia/?z=581915

Friday, February 9, 2018

What’s happening to Bangkok’s air?


In the past week, the air quality in Bangkok has hit “unhealthy” levels, according to the Air Pollution Index, and the problem has worsened to the point that smog can be seen with the naked eye in the morning. 

The Department of Pollution Control has issued a warning for people to wear face masks or simply “go to the doctor” if they experience abnormalities with their breathing or respiratory system. 

Today, the department reported PM2.5 dust in Bangkok at 8am. It was measured at 47-70 micrograms per m3, higher than the level considered safe for Thailand, which is set at 50 micrograms per m3. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization suggested that the level of PM2.5 dust should be under 25 micrograms per m3. 
So no, you’re not imagining it.

https://12go.asia/?z=581915

 According to the department, the dust in four areas of Bangkok exceeded safe standards today. Those areas were: Wangthonglang district, Thanon Intharaphithak (located near the riverside), Rama IV Road (which stretches across business areas including Silom, Lumpini, and Khlong Toei), and Lat Phrao Road. 

Trinuch Kraiwit, a resident of Wangthonglang, told Coconuts: “When I get out of the house in the morning, I can see a thick smog… The sky is gray.

“I’ve been feeling that my allergy has been triggered. I’ve been having a sore throat — so does my colleague. So I’ve bought face masks just in case I have to work outdoors.” 

In a statement, the Department of Pollution Control blamed the temperature drop of 2-4 degrees Celsius and humidity as causes for dust to accumulate in the air.

Prof. Dr. Wanida Jinsart, an expert on environmental science and air pollution from Chulalongkorn University, told Coconuts that the high number of vehicles on Bangkok roads is a main contributor to city smog, and the cool weather caused the problem to become more prominent. 

 
“It’s more noticeable in the winter, where inversions normally occur. This means a layer of air is trapped, causing the smog,” she said, explaining that the gray smog we see is composed primarily of dust and steam trapped in the atmosphere.

She explained we can see that the smog disappears around 10am as the temperature becomes higher, which means we can expect the smog to go away as warmer weather approaches. 

“We’ll have to follow the weather prediction from the Department of Meteorology, but I think we won’t experience the smog next week.”
She added that the smog can be dangerous to your health if it continues to happen over the long term, and that, for now, we should be OK if we protect ourselves by wearing a face mask.

Source - Coconuts.co
 

Monday, February 5, 2018

#China - Beijing inches closer to becoming the world's busiest airport

China is forecast to overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest air-travel market as soon as 2022.

Beijing inched one step closer to taking the crown for the world’s busiest airport.

As the ranks of the Chinese middle class swell and more people take to the skies, passenger traffic at Beijing’s international airport rose to a new record of 95.8 million last year.

This increase at the world’s second-busiest air hub -- at least the fifth straight year of gains -- has allowed Beijing Capital International Airport to narrow the gap with top placed Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, whose passenger numbers fell in 2017.
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https://12go.asia/?z=581915
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 China is forecast to overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest air-travel market as soon as 2022. To cope with the surge in fliers, Beijing is building a $12.9 billion mega airport in a southern suburb that’s scheduled to open next year. It would accommodate as many as 100 million passengers annually, with the existing and new airports likely sharing 170 million travelers a year by 2025, according to official estimates. 
 The new airport has been designated by authorities as the hub for members of the SkyTeam alliance, a global group of airlines that includes China Eastern Airlines Corp. and China Southern Airlines Co. The two state-owned Chinese carriers will each be allowed to capture 40 percent of the airport’s passengers, gaining coveted time slots to Europe and the U.S. in flag carrier Air China Ltd.’s backyard.

Beijing will also be joining a select list of major cities with two or even three international airports, including London, New York, Tokyo and Paris. Unlike in Beijing, though, those airports usually take complementary roles, such as one serving international or intercontinental routes and the other focusing on domestic or regional flights.

Source - TheJakartaPost
 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Crossing Siberia, from Moscow to Mongolia


In 1891, Nicholas II made a grand voyage across what was then the Russian Empire on what was called The Tsar’s Train. The potentate ventured from the imperial capital of Saint Petersburg to Vladivostok, on the frozen rim of Siberia, more than 9,000 kilometers away.

The same route, now known as the Trans-Siberia Railroad, exists today, with branch lines that allow journeys to destinations as far as China and Mongolia.

All aboard


Unlike Tsar Nicholas II, I would begin by voyage in Moscow, where I landed at Domodedovo Airport in October. First pro tip: Dress warmly: the temperature was about -3 degrees! Used to tropical weather, I was chilled, wearing only a thin jacket, winter hat and hand-knit gloves.

Two months before leaving for Russia, I had purchased my tickets, spending US$285 for an 87-hour passage from Moscow to Irkutsk on the Trans-Siberia Railway and $200 for the 22-hour journey from Irkutsk to Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital. Purchase can also be made in Moscow, or via websites such as russianrail.com or expresstorussia.com, which will deliver tickets to your hotel.

Before departing, I stopped at a supermarket. Three days on a train traveling second class meant I had to lay in a supply of food and sundries, such as instant noodles, flip flops for the shower and five cans of beer. (Second pro tip: Russian Rail officers say that you can’t bring more than five cans on the train.
 
 
 I was at Moscow Yaroslavskaya Station, which forms a rail terminus shared with Kazansky and Leningradsky Stations, about three hours before departure, as suggested. Each car of my train had from six to nine (quite clean) passenger compartments, a toilet/shower room and an officer space. 
 In my second-class compartment, towels, blankets, mattresses and pillows were neatly stacked. There was ample space for four to sleep, two on upper berths, which folded away during the daytime, and two on lower berths. We left Moscow just before midnight, starting my Siberian adventure.

READ CONTINUE


 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

#Bangkok - Suvarnabhumi Standoff: Airport claps back after being called ninth worst

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Since being rated the ninth worst airport in the world last week in a report by the website airhelp.com, Suvarnabhumi has released a statement calling into question the survey, its data-collection methods, and their low score.  

In a Thai statement published on its Facebook page, Suvarnabhumi Airport called the survey unreliable and its methods unscientific.

The airhelp report, released last Monday, said that it took into consideration reviews from passengers regarding customer service, security, comfort, check-in, user experience, and quality of facilities at 76 airports around the world. Suvarnabhumi International Airport was rated 68, scoring just 6.3 points out of a possible 10. 
 
 
The Bangkok airport said that, while they are open to criticism and suggestions for improvement, they never provided any info to airhelp and have a much higher rating on the better-known site FlightStat, which tracks flight data and airports. 

They also accused airhelp of only taking into account reviews written in English while the majority of reviews for the Bangkok airport are written in Thai.

Below is a translation of the statement released by the airport about the recent ranking:
Suvarnabhumi Airport will take comments from the passengers or the organizations who conducted the survey into consideration, as Suvarnabhumi views that this information is greatly beneficial to the management of the airport. We know that this information reflects the thoughts of the passengers. 

The ranking on airhelp.com was conducted for the first time this year, claiming that the survey was conducted between Dec. 2016 – March 2017 from sources that have no standards. Regarding the rankings for on-time performance, quality and service, and passenger sentiment categories, the survey does not declare the merits and demerits of the airports ranked in the list.
They address each ratings category individually:

1. On-time Performance
www.airhelp.com does not clearly state their source for the ranking. Suvarnabhumi insists that it has not provided any information regarding its performance to this website.
However, Flight Stats, an organization collecting real-time information on air traffic, ranks Suvarnabhumi at 13th place in the category of Global Hub Performance in May 2017.

2. Quality and Service
Airhelp.com stated that it sourced the information from SKYTRAX star ratings collected between Dec. 22, 2016 – March 20, 2017. There is no evidence that SKYTRAX confirms the correctness of the information for Airhelp.
The Airport Council International ranked Suvarnabhumi as the 10th best airport in the world last year.

3. Passenger Sentiment.
Airhelp.com stated that it sourced from Twitter. We found that Airhelp only conducts their ranking from English-language tweets and its own tools.
Suvarnabhumi Airport welcomes the results of all surveys if these surveys are from reliable or well-known organizations such as the Airport Council International, which ranked Suvarnabhumi 10th best airport in the world.

Probably worth pointing out here that the Airport Council International is a lobbying group for airports.

Source - Coconuts.co

Sunday, May 7, 2017

#Myanmar (Burma) - Water taxi scheme details to be announced next week

The company Tint Tint Myanmar has been chosen to run a water taxi on the Hlaing River and Nga Moe Yeik Creek.
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The firm will announce the details of its implementation, said a spokesperson from Tint Tint Myanmar.

In order to upgrade Yangon’s public transport system, the regional government has planned to upgrade the circular train and water taxi services alongside bus transport, according to Yangon chief minister U Phyo Min Thein on July 2016.

The Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) started accepting tender applications on November 21 until December 26 last year. The month-long application period was intended to allow sufficient time for foreign and joint-venture companies to submit their applications. The invitation to tender was issued through a state-owned newspaper on November 16 and 17.

Tint Tint Myanmar won the tender in March and they are currently working on the specifics and details to implement a water transport scheme. 

“All operational details will be done with the company’s budget, including the cost of construction of a jetty.

“This will not be related to the government’s budget,” said project manager U Htun Naing Lin from Tint Tint Myanmar.
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According to U Maung Aung, secretary of the YRTA, the purpose of this water taxi system is for commuters to avoid the congested roads on their way to downtown Yangon. It is hoped that this scheme will save time and will start running in May. 

The company has already bought ships from Australia, Thailand and Jordan.

“We can say all are ready to run but we are still testing – we are focusing on safety.  We will announce plans within the next week on how many ships we will use, how many people the ships can carry, ticket pricing, whether we are charging cash or via a prepaid system, and other details.

“We are in discussions regarding the start date for our operations,” said U Htun Naing Lin.

The regional government has already set rules and regulations that the company must obey, he added.

Taking lessons from the YBS chaos and inconvenience, the government should be more cautious about the procedures and should test them before implementation. They should prioritise the safety of commuters, said MP U Kyaw Zay Ya from Dagon township.  

The idea of introducing water taxis to relieve Yangon city congestion was floated by a regional MP last May. Some, at that time, saw the scheme as a far-fetched proposal to solve the traffic issue.

Daw Thida Maung, who made the suggestion, said the Nga Moe Yeik River that flows though many townships could help alleviate the daily gridlock.

“If water taxis would be a service that runs on time and looks nicely decorated, people will be interested in taking them. Now, 21 percent of commuters in Yangon use buses. This number will then be reduced,” she said.
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Source - mmtimes 
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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Bangkok - Changing city landscapes

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RESIDENTS in Bangkok and neighbouring areas like Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan are seeing changing landscapes and new landmarks emerging in different areas – as many mass-transit projects are now under construction.

Several urban and suburban areas of the capital now have elevated structures overhead, with train tracks on bridges crossing the Chao Phraya River, old buildings disappearing, and new junctions in the making. 
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A lot more changes will be visible when many projects – some underground, some elevated and others a combination of the two – are completed in a few years’ time. 
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Many shop-houses and buildings have been expropriated for train stations, both above ground and elevated. Many areas adjacent to the train routes have already witnessed a boom in real estate development, with condominium projects having sprung up for people who prefer the convenience of rail travel to go to work or school.
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Tha Phra Intersection, on the Thon Buri side of Bangkok, will house a key interchange station for the Metropolitan Rapid Transit’s Blue Line. When construction of the Blue Line’s extended section is finished in October 2019, it will complete the circular route – the only one in the country.
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The three-way Fai Chai Junction will become a four-way intersection when construction of a new road is completed. The junction also houses one of the Blue Line stations being built under Charan Sanitwong Road. During World War II, spotlights were installed at this junction to help anti-aircraft guns find Allied bombers attacking at night. That is where its name comes from – Fai Chai means ‘flashlight’. The area saw frequent bombings as strategically significant targets such as a train station and a naval dockyard were located there. 
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Physical changes are also taking place or in set to occur in areas such as Tao Poon, Bang Sue, Rat Burana and Bang Pho in Bangkok, as well as Bang Yai district in Nonthaburi and the Samrong area in Samut Prakan.
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Given there are plans for Bangkok to have a mass-transit network that extends over 500 kilometres, it’s safe to say the dramatic changes to the city’s landscape will go on for some time – over a decade, if there are no further delays.
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cambodia - Air cargo service takes flight

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Cambodia Angkor Air launched what it claimed to be the country’s first domestic air cargo service yesterday, using the existing capacity of its commercial passenger flights to fill the growing demand for air shipments.
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The new service, called Angkor Express Go, will transport goods along two main flight paths, with shipments travelling between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, company representatives said.
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Eng Molina, the airline’s general manager of marketing, said there is a growing demand in Cambodia for air cargo, especially for seafood, vegetables and other perishable products that are in high demand in Siem Reap, the country’s main tourism destination. 
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“We have learned that there is a huge demand for local transportation services, including air transport,” he said. “We believe that there is a big potential for this type of operation.”
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Molina said he expects people will start shifting away from land transport and transition to the faster air service for products that depend of rapid delivery times to maintain their quality. 
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Notoriously slow road travel from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap can take 10 hours, while air service can have the goods delivered in about an hour though at a higher cost, he conceded.
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Cambodia Angkor Air already operates cargo services, but only on international flights, Molina noted, adding that the airline has transported close to 4,700 tonnes of goods since 2013.
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The carrier uses two types of aircraft on its domestic routes. It flies 68-seater ATR72 planes, capable of carrying 400 kilograms of goods, as well as larger Airbus A320s, with 180 seats and a 2,000-kilogram cargo capacity.
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Cambodia Angkor Air is one of four Cambodian carriers serving domestic routes, along with Sky Angkor Airlines, Bassaka Air and Cambodia Bayon Airlines. Startup airline JC International Airlines is scheduled to commence service today.
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Sinn Chanserey Vutha, spokesman for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said Cambodia already has domestic cargo services through other airlines, though he expects Cambodia Angkor Air’s new service will be popular. 
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“There is more and more demand for cargo transportation by air, both for international and domestic flights he said. “I think the new service will be used by many and will be successful.”
However, Sin Chanthy, president of the Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association, said he did not expect the new air service would result in any significant shift away from overland transport.
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“It just provides more options, but I don’t think it will be overly popular because the transportation fees will be much higher compared to land shipments,” he said. “Cambodian roads are getting much better and the transport of goods is also getting faster and easier.”
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Saturday, August 27, 2016

New shuttles bus service tested in capital of Bangkok


A new shuttle bus service connecting Bangkok’s Victory Monument area and key bus terminals such as the Southern Bus Terminal, the Mo Chit Bus Terminal and the Ekkamai Mo Chit Terminal, has been tested after passenger vans were banned in the area.
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Speaking as chairman of the committee in charge of regulating public transportation vans, Colonel Suwit Ketsri, deputy commander of the Second Cavalry Division King's Guard, said the test had been arranged to calculate the travelling time for each route's round trip to provide a proper number of shuttle buses.
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The Second Cavalry Division King's Guard chief of staff, Colonel Sombat Thanyawan, said four buses head to the Mo Chit Bus Terminal, six to the Southern Bus Terminal, and four to the Ekkamai Terminal every 20 minutes.
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"Shuttle buses will be added when there are too many passengers," he said.
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Traffic Police deputy commander Colonel Teerasak Suriwong said the trip between Victory Monument to the key bus terminals would normally take about two hours, while the shuttle buses running on the expressway would take about 20 minutes.
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The service is in response to the National Council for Peace and Order's mandate to better regulate traffic in the capital.
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Source: TheNation
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Monday, May 23, 2016

Cross-border route to link India, Myanmar, Thailand


1,400 km highway and other transport ties are major part of 'act east'policy, Indian ambassador says; world war ll bridges being repaired.

INDIA, Thailand and Myanmar are negotiating a breakthrough 1,400-kilometre highway that will link India with Southeast Asia by land for the first time in decades.

In an interview with The Nation, Indian Ambassador Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi said 73 bridges in Myanmar built during World War II more than seven decades ago are being renovated with funding from the Indian government to allow vehicles to cross the highway safely.

When the repair work is completed in 18 months, the highway could be opened to traffic from all three countries.

The planned highway, which starts in the eastern region of India from Moreh city to Myanmar's Tamu city, has received a positive response from Myanmar's new government following the recent general election.
At this stage, negotiations are underway to conclude a tri-nation motor vehicle agreement for the use of the 1,400km road that will reach Thailand at Tak's Mae Sot district.
 This will lead to land transport connectivity between South Asia and Southeast Asia and increased trade and investment among all partner countries with cargo transportation being the first priority.

However, there are still some security challenges for a section inside Myanmar, which will have to be resolved with the authorities.

The tri-nation highway exemplifies India's "Act East" policy, under which the Asian giant aims to boost its economic and other relations neighbouring countries in the East.

Myanmar's Dawei deep-sea port and industrial estate project near the Thai border is also expected to help further integrate eastern India with Asean.

The planned port can be linked up with India's Chennai port as well as Thailand's Laem Chabang Port on the other side of the ocean.

Under the "Act East" policy, India is also preparing to negotiate a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which includes the 10-country Asean grouping on top of the current India-Asean free-trade agreement (FTA).

Some Asean countries such as Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia have become members of the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) FTA, so Asean is upgrading its FTAs with major trading partners such as India and China to formulate RCEP agreements, which are more advanced.

India views Asean as a central component of its "Act East" policy. Myanmar shares a border with India, while Thailand is a maritime neighbour with long-standing cultural and other ties, so both nations are India's gateway to Asean.

Thai-Indian trade amounted to US$8 billion (Bt285.5 billion) last year, while 1 million Indian tourists visited Thailand last year. There were also about 300 Indian weddings held here.

Among major Thai investors in India are CP Group, Delta Electronics, Ital-Thai and Pruksa Real Estate, while the major Indian firms operating in Thailand are Tata Group, Aditya Birla and Indorama.

India continues to rack up high economic growth of 7 per cent per year amid the global slowdown, he added.

 India’s recent pact with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal to facilitate free vehicular movement coupled with the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway could potentially increase intraregional trade by almost 60% as well as extract maximum strategic mileage.

A strategic pact signed by India to facilitate free vehicular movement with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal; alongside a proposal to step-up work on operationalising a 3200-km road link from Moreh (India) to Mae Sot (Thailand), are two vital components of the NDA government’s reinforced ‘Act East’ policy.
India’s recent pact with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal to facilitate free vehicular movement coupled with the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway could potentially increase intraregional trade by almost 60% as well as extract maximum strategic mileage.
A strategic pact signed by India to facilitate free vehicular movement with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal; alongside a proposal to step-up work on operationalising a 3200-km road link from Moreh (India) to Mae Sot (Thailand), are two vital components of the NDA government’s reinforced ‘Act East’ policy.
- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/sub-regional-road-connectivity-pacts-from-looking-east-to-linking-east/#sthash.E0idX9lr.dpuf
India’s recent pact with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal to facilitate free vehicular movement coupled with the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway could potentially increase intraregional trade by almost 60% as well as extract maximum strategic mileage.
A strategic pact signed by India to facilitate free vehicular movement with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal; alongside a proposal to step-up work on operationalising a 3200-km road link from Moreh (India) to Mae Sot (Thailand), are two vital components of the NDA government’s reinforced ‘Act East’ policy.
- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/sub-regional-road-connectivity-pacts-from-looking-east-to-linking-east/#sthash.E0idX9lr.dpuf
*****
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Monday, March 21, 2016

Bangkokians forced to walk on Airport Rail Link track after train stopped working


Dozens of Bangkokians were forced to walk on the Airport Rail Link’s tracks this morning as they were evacuated from a train to another due to a power outage.

At 9am this morning, the Airport Rail Link transferred an entire crowded train to another train by foot between Makkasan and Ramkhamhaeng station, after the train had stopped working and they had spent an hour trying to fix the problem without success.


All passengers arrived safely at Hua Mark station. The Airport Rail Link is currently closed until they are able to clear all the passengers in its system, according to a Spring News journalist. 

The Airport Rail Link, which is operated by State Railway of Thailand’s subsidiary SRT Electrified Train, has not yet issued an official statement to explain the incident.

Source: Coconuts



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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Bangkok - Boat explosion ‘was an accident, not sabotage’


60 passengers injured, four seriously, after commuter boat blast on Saen Saeb Canal in #Bangkok

 AN EXPLOSION on a Bangkok commuter boat on the Saen Saeb canal that injured 60 people yesterday was an accident and not sabotage, Government Spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said.

Although concerned officials have not confirmed what caused the explosion, Sansern said the initial investigation found that a gas cylinder installed on the boat exploded and no explosive items were found. The incident took place near a pier at Wat Thep Leela.

Science and Technology Ministry deputy spokesman Worawarong Rakreungdet said the boat was powered by diesel and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Officials suspected that the gas tank exploded. Witnesses saw smoke and smelled gas at the rear of the boat. However, the boat owner insisted the explosion occurred in the engine.

 Worawarong said the explosion may have been caused by the fact the gas tank could not withstand the pressure of the LNG. But Energy Ministry spokesman Thawarat Sutabutr said a post-explosion picture showed the gas tank was in good condition and he did not believe the LNG installation was the cause of the explosion. "Some parts in the boat may have been defective and that led to the accident.''

Deputy Transport Minister Omsin Chivapruek said he inspected the scene and found that the gas tank in the boat had leaked, causing a flame, but it did not explode.

The ministry has suspended all 30 gas-fuelled boats from operating on the Saen Saeb canal from a total of 72 boats until the cause of the incident is determined.

Chavalit Methayaprapat, the owner of Family Transport Co Ltd and operator of the boat, said the incident took place at about 6.45am while the boat was approaching Wat Thep Leela pier. 

 He said the explosion occurred in the engine while the boat was carrying 80 passengers, but the cause of the explosion was yet to be determined.

He said the explosion had nothing to do with the gas tank because the tank was still in a good condition. The boat did not capsize after the blast.


Chavalit said he had ordered that the company's 25 boats powered by LNG and diesel stop operating - leaving 47 diesel boats still running. He ordered the removal of gas systems from the 25 boats.

He said the gas systems were installed so the company did not have to increase fares. Eight years ago the price of petrol skyrocketed and the government promoted alternative energy

He said up to 40,000 commuters used the service each day on weekdays and 20,000 used it each day over the weekend.

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said of 60 injured people, 14 people needed to be hospitalised and four were in intensive care.

Winyu Angsunit, deputy managing director of Viriyah Insurance Plc, said the company initially estimated the damage bill at Bt1.1 million and would pay compensation to concerned parties with full coverage. Coverage was Bt100,000 for any person who died. The 60 injured would be paid Bt15,000 each, Winyu said.

The incident was unprecedented, he said, and the cause of the explosion initially found to be either an accident or the engine being too old. He said Viriyah Insurance would consider charging gas-powered boats higher premiums than for those that run on petrol.

An injured commuter, who declined to be named, said she was walking toward the rear of the boat near the engine when she saw smoke coming from the engine before the explosion. The engine is located in the middle of the boat.

 She said a flame burnt her hair and underwear. Her legs and right arm were also burnt. She saw commuters knocked into the canal due to force of the explosion.

Another commuter, who also declined to be named, said the boat was heading to Pratunam before it had mechanical problems. Before the explosion, the boat driver told commuters to get off at Wat Thep Leela and change to another boat, she said.

*****
 
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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Bangkok, Sathorn Taksin BTS Station

BTS bottleneck: Saphan Taksin to get double track.

To relieve the traffic at the single-track Saphan Taksin station, officials decided to expand the station to a double track - although it will block the lanes of Sathorn bridge.

Walking back on its plan to demolish Saphan Taksin once and for all for faster traffic, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will instead expand the smallest BTS station by one meter on each side to build an additional track and waiting space, said Deputy Governor Amorn Kitchawengkul on Wednesday.

But as the Saphan Taksin station is right next to Sathorn elevated bridge, the expansion would take out two out of three lanes of the bridge. To solve this, officials will expand the affected part of the bridge by 80 centimeters on the other side to create another lane.

This new plan was decided instead of the previous project to get rid of the station to use the space for a double track. To accommodate residents, a moving walkway linking to Surasak station will be built, Prachachart reported.  

Source: Coconuts

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