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Rail

 May 13, 2004
Successful Test Runs For Bangkok's First Subway

 Bangkok's first underground mass transit system, the subway, successfully underwent its first trial runs between April 13-18, 2004, in preparation for the new official opening in July 2004, a month earlier than the previous schedule in August.

The trials attracted over 90,000 commuters who were given free rides on all the 15 trains operated during that period.

Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) Governor, Mr. Prapat Chonsanguan said, "The trials were very useful in helping us identify and fix some small technical errors. We are now working actively to ensure full safety by the official opening."

At the time of opening, the subway will have a total of 19 trains. Each train will consist of three compartments capable of accommodating 886 commuters. The trains will run at an average speed of 25km/hr.

A second round of trials are scheduled for 13 days in June 2004. Over 200,000 passengers are expected daily.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Deputy Governor for International Marketing Mrs. Phornsiri Manoharn said, "Bangkok is already known as an exciting, vibrant city and the subway will make it even better by allowing visitors to get around the city's hotels, shopping centres and business areas.

"It will make a valuable contribution towards improving the overall quality of the visitor experience and increasing average length of stay."

One of the subway stations will be located right next to the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.

The subway will operate from 05.00 hrs - 24.00 hrs every day at a frequency of 4 - 6 minutes per train. More frequencies (2 - 4 minutes per train) will be provided during rush hours (06.00hrs - 09.00hrs and 16.30hrs - 19.30hrs).

Fares for the subway will start from 14 baht between two stations, rising by 2 baht for every subsequent station, up to a maximum of 36 baht per route. During an initial promotion period, the MRTA will discount the fare by 15% all through 2004. Children with a height of less than 90cm will be able to travel free while those between 90-120cm and adults aged 65 years and above will be offered 50% discount.

The subway route is 20 kilometres long with 18 stations and three interchange stations that will connect to the city's other overhead mass transit rail system, the Skytrain. More interchange stations will come on stream after line extensions to the Skytrain are completed.

The Royal Thai Government is planning to extend the existing 40 kilometres of track for both the Skytrain and the subway to 200 kilometres within six years.