Bangkok bus passengers to rise by 100,000 a day on reopened shopping centers

BMTA director-general Surachai Iamwachirakul.
BMTA director-general Surachai Iamwachirakul.

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) expects the number of its passengers to increase by 100,000 a day when shopping centers reopen.

BMTA director-general Surachai Iamwachirakul said as the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration allowed shopping centers to reopen on May 17 and shortened curfew hours from 10pm-4am to 11pm-4am, the BMTA would adjust its services accordingly.

He said the daily number of Bangkok bus passengers would rise by 100,000 from 517,000 and thus the BMTA would increase its daily bus trips by 3,000 trips from 25,000 trips. Without the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, BMTA buses served nearly 1 million passengers a day. As social distancing was being imposed, BMTA buses could serve up to about 600,000 passengers a day, he said.

“Shopping centers will reopen on Sunday May 17 and the number of visitors to shopping centers will rise. However, there will not be too many commuters to workplaces on the day. The real traffic will be on May 18 when there will be both shopping center staff and office workers. We will see if the number of bus passengers will rise as expected,” Mr Surachai said.

For the reduced curfew hours, he said, BMTA would extend the latest schedule for its buses to arrive at their depots from 8pm to 9pm so that passengers and bus staff would have about two hours to reach home. (TNA)