Agencies brainstorm together to find solutions to Bangkok’s traffic problem in a month

With Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon giving relevant agencies a month to fix Bangkok’s horrific traffic problems, many solutions have been proposed, including giving people who haven’t paid their fines even bigger fines.

There are currently 53 agencies, as well as the Metropolitan Police Bureau subcommittee, who are working on solving the traffic congestion problem. They met yesterday to discuss the possible solutions.

There was also a seminar to discuss the research work that has been done on traffic solutions. The Thailand Research Fund conducted a 2-year study on traffic-related issues, said MPB chief Sanit Mahathavorn. It helped in providing further insight and offered other useful proposals on how to ease Bangkok traffic.

None of them have been tested yet though.

One of the proposals suggests that the police and City Hall to work together to regulate street vendors. It also suggests establishing a traffic court to enforce stricter compliance with traffic laws, the improvement of traffic light systems, and providing parking spaces around BTS and MRT stations.

Gen. Prawit also suggested that something be done about motorcyclists who refuse to pay their fines. He mentioned taking away their licenses and incurring fees that are four times the regualr fines as possible solutions to the issues.

The building of a flyover was suggested for the rail crossing that is causing congestion near the Na Ranong Road intersection, where Sukhumvit, Ratchadaphisek, Asoke, and Rama IV roads meet. They are hoping the flyover will help in easing congestion.

Vehicles that are parked on the side of street have also been ordered to be removed if they are parked in areas that can potentially hinder traffic flow.

There will also be a team established to monitor traffic problems. People will be able to call the number 1197, and ask them to come help with any problems they witness on the road.

Median strips that have been built too wide will be narrowed down in size to allow for more traffic space. There have been reports that 42 median strips in Bangkok will be removed, but Pol. Lt. Gen. Sanit denied it.

There is also the issue with the current police force. According to Pol. Col. Patchara Sinloyma, a researcher studying traffic problems, about half of the traffic police officers in Bangkok are aged 50 and older.

There are 2,960 police officers, and 1,100 are 50-years-old.

Another issue is with schools and their pick-up/drop-off zones, which are located right outside the school in some places, hindering traffic. It has been suggested that parents are trained to pick-up and drop off their kids more quickly.   

A researcher on the project to set up a traffic court, Supatra Phanwichit, reported that there have been many cases where traffic tickets remain unpaid, and no one has done anything to follow up on traffic law violators. This resulted in them continuously breaking traffic laws.

She proposed that there should be a separate division in each municipal court that deals specifically with traffic cases. If one were to ignore their traffic ticket, a traffic police must send the unpaid ticket to prosecutors, who will forward it to the court within 48 hours from when the ticket was due.

If they don’t show up in court to pay the fine, their license will be suspended or revoked, and there will be a summons issued for them.

Supatra said that, in order to set up court sections to hear traffic cases, the 1979 Land Traffic Act and 1956 Municipal Court Establishment Act, would have to be adjusted.

Short term measures have also been suggested, including the enforcement of stricter traffic laws to prevent motorists from parking in prohibited areas, or running red lights. They also want to increase bus lanes on major roads, reported Bangkok Post.

However, from our experience, Thai buses will just continue to do whatever they want.
 

Related:

Mission Impossible? Bangkok traffic problem to get better in one month

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