By SIRIVISH TOOMGUM
Surapong Laoha-Unya, executive director of BTS Group Holdings, said yesterday that Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Co (BTSC) would next week hold meetings with concerned agencies, including Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund, to jointly devise remedial measures for commuters.
BTSC operates the Skytrain service under a BMA concession.
The Skytrain operator met the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and the Transport Ministry’s related agencies yesterday to seek pre-emptive measures if a similar problem occurs next week.
According to the BTSC, the problem was likely caused by its signalling system experiencing an interference by a telecom spectrum.
On Wednesday the NBTC held meetings with BTSC and related parties to seek ways to solve the problem.
The watchdog on Wednesday suggested that the Skytrain operator shift to use the 2480MHz-2495MHz frequency band for its signalling system from the current 2400MHz spectrum band as a long-term solution. TOT will switch off a number of its 2300MHz cellular base stations along the Skytrain routes on a temporary basis until BTS finishes implementing the change.
The BTSC said it intended to finish installing the new radio communications equipment in its Skytrain signalling system and move to the NBTC recommended band tonight as part of its efforts to solve the problem.
The TOT will also help the BTSC inspect new radio communication equipment to help prevent a possible frequency jam in the future.
A huge number of train commuters were stranded for four hours during rush hours from Monday to Wednesday, prompting a public outcry for the operator to fix the chronic problem.
During weekdays, some 740,000 commuters travel by the Skytrain. There have been reports that recurrence of the problem in the past few days had led to some 60,000 to 70,000 BTS passengers moving to use the subway service.
Angry commuters in Bangkok have launched a campaign calling for reform of the mass transit system operated by BTSC.
A campaigner using the web page “Change.org” has invited people to join a campaign calling for a reform of the Skytrain service and to change the BTSC management team.
He argued about the high price of the services, too many advertising billboards at the train stations, and the time spent waiting for trains due to frequent technical breakdowns. As of yesterday afternoon, about 7,500 net citizens had signed up their names to join the campaign.
Others activists used social media to mock the BTSC, by changing the name of its stations – Phrom Phong station was dubbed “Phrom Phang”, which literally means “ready to breakdown”.