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8 things the BTS should have done by now

First promised for August last year, the all-in-one "Mangmoom" card has been a long, long time coming. Latest estimates put it as launching in October, but frustrated Bangkok commuters are used to waiting. Here are some things that should have been done years ago. 

By Neon Boonyadhammakul | Jun 27, 2017

  • 8 things the BTS should have done by now
    Credit: Mark Fischer (via Flickr)

Install platform screen doors

It’s 2017, 18 years since the BTS began operations, and yet only nine stations have screen doors on their platforms. For the record, these are BTS Siam, Chit Lom, Phloen Chit, Ekkamai, Nana, Phrom Phong, Asoke, On Nut and Sala Daeng. It's a problem that also plagues the Airport Rail Link, where only one of eight stations (Suvarnabhumi) has safety barriers. Earlier this month, a pregnant woman tragically fell and was killed by a train at Ban Thap Chang Station—an accident that could surely have been avoided. Latest reports say barriers will be installed at all stations by April next year. 

 

Ensure all ticket machines accept notes

Ticket machines are a wonderful thing. Ticket machines that accept notes, even better. But they're a real rarity. There's nothing like queuing up twice at peak hour to change your notes into coins and then your coins into a ticket. And yes, there's a petition for this. 

 

 

Drop the beef with the 2-baht coin

On that topic, we've been using 2 baht coins for 12 years now, but it seems the only thing this denomination can't buy you is a BTS ticket.

 

 

Open the public toilets

Actually, you'll find toilets at all BTS stations, but the doors are locked so you have to ask an officer’s permission first—just lovely when nature comes calling. 

Launch the single-ticket transport system, already

The "Mangmoom" card, connecting the BTS, MRT and Airport Link lines, plus the Chao Phraya Express boat service, had been slated to launch in Aug 2016, then revised to Apr of this year, then Jun, and now Oct. But word is it'll initially only work at transfer stations between transport systems, such as BTS Asok and MRT Sukhumvit. Time is ticking and our wallets are still bulging with cards. 

 

Give us a train schedule board

It seems like such an easy thing to implement, but nope. We're still left on the BTS platform with no idea when a train will arrive, which can be infrequent due to temporary track work or other delays. What's more, not every train on the Sukhumvit Line currently runs to the new Samrong station, meaning it's kind of a lucky dip which one you should hop aboard. 

 

Just accept card payment—without any catches!

The BTS used to let all commuters top up their Rabbit card via credit or debit card. But as of Apr 1, they've limited credit card payment to those who buy one of the monthly round-trip packages (starting from B345). Why, we're not sure. Oh and you can forget making any card payments after 10pm—that's simply not possible. 

Equal access for all!

In January, a large group of wheelchair-bound citizens converged on Bangkok’s Civil Court to file a class-action lawsuit against the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) after it failed to make good on a court order to build elevators at 23 BTS stations by the end of August last year. Since then, there's been some progress, with 11 lifts unveiled at four stations—BTS Ratchadamri, Phrom Phong, Thong Lo and On Nut—though reports since suggest these are in varying states of usability. For more, see Accessibility is Freedom

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First promised for August last year, the all-in-one "Mangmoom" card has been a long, long time coming. Latest estimates put it as launching in October, but frustrated Bangkok commuters are used to waiting. Here are some things that should have been done years ago. 

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