More than 90 percent of people commenting at the first public hearing on the proposed Pattaya tram project support the 20-billion-baht transit plan, city hall said.
Of the 240 people who attended the Dec. 16 meeting at the Brighton Grand Pattaya Hotel, 133 completed questionnaires asking what they thought about the plan for two tram lines looping through Pattaya and in to Jomtien Beach and if they had any suggestions based on the draft feasibility and environmental studies released at the session.
Once the votes were tallied, 21 percent “approved” and 70 percent “strongly approved” of the idea, while only 1 disagreed and 5 percent had no opinion.
That’s not to say the public didn’t have quibbles with the project plan.
Respondents insisted that the railway pass by department stores, hospitals and Walking Street. People also want the city to build parking lots connected to rail stations with lots also placed outside the city at rail terminus points. All stations and trains should be handicapped accessible, the public comments added.
The public said it preferred a subway to an overhead train, although plans actually call for a street-level system.
Commenters also suggested stations should be at least 500 meters apart and be built as quickly as possible.
However, before any tracks are laid, the public said, the city needs to once-and-for-all organize and regulate existing transportation, in particular double-parking baht buses and tour coaches. In addition, commenters said, existing surface transport should be used as shuttles between stations and major destinations.
There were few comments on the environmental impact of the project, with the main suggestion being that all utility lines be completely covered and that the project should not add to Pattaya’s air-pollution problem.
The information gathered in the public hearings will be used to modify the studies before their final versions.