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Skytrain glitch on Sukhumvit Line hits commuters

Feb 24. 2016
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By Kittipong Maneerit,
Angsuma S

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COMMUTERS were faced with congestion and chaos yesterday as the Skytrain service came to a standstill, leaving many with no choice but to walk or opt for other means of transport.

Some commuters also had to loosen their purse strings as some motorcycle taxis capitalised on the sharp rise in demand by hiking their fares.

Scores of commuters found themselves stranded at Siam BTS Station yesterday when officials announced that there was a problem with the Sukhumvit Line. The line was to be split into two sections: Mo Chit-Siam-Mo Chit and Bearing-Siam-Bearing.

Several commuters criticised the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC) for not informing people in advance, while some quoted news reports as saying that the problem had been detected at 2am yesterday and hence the announcement should have been made earlier.

Bank employee Thaweesit Phukhieopad, 28, said he took the Skytrain to work every day. Yesterday he took his usual train from Mo Chit at 7.50am to Ploenchit when he learned about the problem.

That left him with no option but to walk from Siam to Ploenchit, which made him late for work. He said he wanted the BTS to improve its services and ensure proper maintenance because this sort of problem occurs often.

Advance warning needed

He said commuters should be informed in advance about such problems so they could make preparations.

Kittipong Pitakkij, 49, who was travelling from Bang Wa to CentralWorld, also complained of being late due to this problem. “The BTS should have fixed the problem promptly by directing trains to Bearing Station so there was not so much congestion at Siam,” he added.

Company worker Siwaporn Saipanthong, 24, said the BTS hiccup made her and other fellow employees late for work, though she said that this problem may have been unavoidable.

In a press release yesterday, Anat Arbhabhirama, chairman of the BTSC advisory board, explained that the disruption had stemmed from a technical problem at several points in the Sukhumvit Line between Chitlom and Siam stations.

Apologising for the inconvenience, he said BTSC would undertake maintenance of the points after midnight, once the train service stops running, so things return to normal today.

The statement said that BTSC was also offering a “shuttle service” from 6am to noon from Mo Chit to Siam and back, and from Siam to Bearing and back today. From noon to midnight yesterday, a shuttle service was provided from Mo Chit to Bang Wa and back, and from Bearing to Siam and back. Another shuttle was also provided between National Stadium and Siam.

As many commuters had no choice but to opt for motorcycle taxis, some found themselves having to pay well above the usual fare. Office worker Pattaranit Boonmee said she usually took the Skytrain from On Nut to Asoke, but due to the problem yesterday she had to opt for a motorcycle taxi and was charged Bt140 instead of the usual Bt100. She said some of her friends complained of having to pay an even higher fare of Bt380 from Victory Monument to Siam.

“They shouldn’t take advantage of people like that. When people are in trouble, they should help each other,” she added.

 

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