Trams may not be profitable after all, say MRT

 | Fri 16 Oct 2020 15:13 ICT

The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRT) has announced that they have been reviewing the planned tram systems in Phuket, Korat, Pitsanulok and Chiang Mai, where they are particularly concerned over the profitability of the venture and whether they would be able to secure private sector commitment to the project.

The four projects in the four provinces were evaluated and just on the cusp of being open for bids when the MRT said that it feared that not enough users would mean not enough profits for investors which will then burden and add risk to the state, said a representative of the MRT board, who says that they may be held accountable later as they would be required to sign off on the project.

The proposed light rail transit (trams) here in Chiang Mai was slated to cost 27 billion baht, with 4.4 billion going towards the government’s eminent domain claim, 15 billion for Royal Highway Department construction costs, 5.5 billion for cost of the light rail transit system, 689 million for consultancy fees and 966 million for emergencies and miscellaneous.

“To build this system in the four provinces is not easy,” explained the representative. “The main concern is whether there is real interest in using the system.”

The plan was to build one route at a time, starting construction on the red route in 2022 and completing it by 2027. The red route was slated to run from the Nakornping Hospital to the Mae Hia Intersection.

The route would see the trams running above ground along Chotana Road (Highway 107) until the Provincial Hall intersection when it would turn right and go along the Somphot Chiang Mai 700 Pee Road before joining the Canal Road and then turning left again to run parallel to Nong Hor Road (Highway 1366). Once the trams rejoin Chotana Road it goes underground all the way down towards Chang Puak Road, past Rajabhat University and to Maneenoparat Road (northern outer moat road). It will then continue towards Hua Rin Moat Corner and continue past Maharat Hospital, heading towards the Ku Huang Moat Corner and then Mahidol Road until Chiang Mai International Airport when it will be above ground again. It will continue along the Chiang Mai-Hang Dong Road (Highway 108) and end at the Mae Hia Samansamakkhi Intersection.

Here is an in-depth article about our city’s long struggle to overcome our transportation Challenges:

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