BTS, MRT passengers increase during Bangkok Shutdown

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BANGKOK, Jan 14 – More Bangkokians were seen commuting by public transport this morning so as to avoid potential traffic chaos on the second day of the Bangkok Shutdown by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) begun yesterday.

Caretaker Transport Minister Chadchart Sitthipunt today reported to the government’s war room set up to monitor the PDRC’s road blockage that he did not notice any traffic chaos as he went on an inspection round of northern Bangkok.

Mr Chadchart said the Bangkok seizure has so far not affected the ministry’s operations but the public would surely be affected if the protests are prolonged. He advised Bangkokians to plan their journey in advance and reduce using private vehicles during the protests, noting that this should be good opportunity for Bangkok residents to switch to public transport.

The caretaker transport minister called on protesters not to close the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (AeroThai), explaining that the seizure would greatly affect air traffic and aviation system globally. It would also tarnish the country’s image.

Meanwhile, Deputy Governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) Ronnachit Yaemsaard said about 250,000-270,000 passengers commuted by underground trains yesterday and there were no reports of security problems.

Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) management committee chairman Anat Arbhabhirama asserted that SkyTrain passengers had no problems commuting. Some 20,000 one-day passes were sold yesterday so the passengers can avoid waiting in long queues.