Phuket Likely to Get Tram System

News in Asia
Phuket Likely to Get Tram System

Public transport system in Phuket is going to get a major facelift: construction of a 35-billion-baht tram system on the island may start in the middle of next year, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) announced recently.

MRTA governor Pakapong Sirikantaramas said the design of the light rail system which has been already  revised, is now waiting for the MRTA board consideration. Once approved by the MRTA board, it will be forwarded to the Transport Ministry and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) committee.

Phuket tram line will be 41.7-kilometre long and run from Phuket International Airport to Chalong intersection. Tunnels and elevated sections will ensure the tram will not impact negatively intense island traffic but on the contrary will help combat conjestion for commuters. The line will have a capacity of transporting up to 70,000 passengers a day with the maximum fare not exceeding THB137 (USD4.5).

The goverment is set to invest THB27 billion (~USD890 million) while the private sector inverstors will cover the remaining costs (THB8 billion) and share revenue with the government under a concession contract that will cover three years of construction and 25 years of operation.

The existing public transportation system on the island leaves much to be desired. Besides large songthaews that ply several routes to the beaches from Phuket Town and are more useful for local dwellers than tourists, beach areas and the airport for a long time used to be served by local taxis offering inflated rates. Airport smart bus that was finally launched several years ago somewhat improved the situation.

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