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Bangkok’s Transit Turmoil: The Missing Link That’s Holding Commuters Hostage – Will MRTA Greenlight the Solution?

As pressure continues to build on the operators of Bangkok’s Green and Yellow lines, calls for the construction of a vital 2.6-kilometer link between the two electric train systems are growing louder. This missing link would significantly simplify the commuting experience for passengers wishing to change lines at Ratchayothin and Lat Phrao stations. Set to begin operations later this year, the Yellow Line monorail will serve as a crucial mass-transit connection for commuters residing in Bangkok’s northern and eastern suburbs.

Currently, without the missing link in place, passengers must reroute their journeys through the Blue Line to transfer from the Green Line to the Yellow Line, which subsequently increases their travel expenses. A proposal for the construction of the missing link between these lines, which had already been approved in an environmental impact assessment (EIA) six years prior, has seemingly stalled. As per the proposal, the missing segment would span Ratchadaphisek Road and incorporate two additional stations, effectively connecting Lat Phrao Station on the Yellow Line to Phahonyothin 24 and Ratchayothin stations on the Green Line.

This vital extension would also pass through several key locations in the area, including the Criminal Court and Chandrakasem Rajabhat University. Despite the potential benefits of this project, sources reveal that its progress has been hindered due to objections from the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), the operators of the Blue Line. Based on a feasibility study, the Blue Line could see a loss of 4,800 daily passengers during the first year of the extension’s operation, equating to a total loss of around 2.7 billion baht over the 30-year concession.

While the MRTA is said to still be contemplating whether to greenlight the proposal for the missing link, they were unavailable for comment on the issue. Deputy Democrat Party leader Samart Ratchapolsitte has urged all stakeholders involved in the matter to reach a consensus on the link before launching Yellow Line services, prioritizing passengers’ convenience.

Samart Ratchapolsitte highlighted a similar issue that arose when the Purple Line’s Bang Yai-Tao Poon route commenced without connecting to the Blue Line. During that period, passengers were forced to rely on buses to navigate between the two lines until the much-needed link was finally established.

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