BANGKOK, THAILAND: The city's first low-cost rapid bus service will be operating by the end of the year, Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin said yesterday.
He believed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme would receive be well received by city commuters. The two billion baht system would be serve as an ideal mass transit alternative.
The two BRT routes, one stretching 19km between Kaset-Navamin intersection and Mor Chit skytrain station and the other 16km between Rama III road and Narathiwat Ratchanakharin road in Sathon district.
Mr Apirak said the opening of the BRT would prove that the Bangkok governor can solve traffic problems despite having only limited authority and funding.
''There used to be an excuse that the Bangkok governor could not solve traffic problem because he did not control state transport agencies. This is no longer the case,'' Mr Apirak, told a seminar on technology for a sustainable city.
Unlike the elevated train network that cost 800 million baht per kilometre, BRT's construction cost per kilometre was only 50 million baht and construction would be completed in a short time.
Mr Apirak said the city administration might issue municipal bonds to raise funds for another eight BRT routes in Bangkok, if necessary.
A study by Asst Prof Chumnong Sorapipatana, energy study chairman of the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment of King Mongkut's University of Technology Thon Buri, had shown the BRT was an answer to city traffic, he said.
Compared to the subway system, which required more time to complete, the BRT was better, he said.
''We need short-term solution for solving traffic problems and the BRT is a practical solution,'' he said.
The study report also urged the government to finance research and development on technology for improving the city environment, Mr Apirak said.
Areas of study should include household wastewater treatment facilities, an air monitoring station to detect greenhouses gases, energy saving and the use of computer simulation programmes to provide real-time population and geographic change for a town plan.