To keep people at arm’s length or more aboard the BTS Skytrain, transportation authorities today ordered train capacity cut by three-quarters.
After Tuesday morning’s breakdown created worrying scenes of packed platforms and bogies that drew criticism from commuters unable to practice social distancing, the Transport Ministry today said only 250 rather than 1,000 passengers would be allowed to board each train of four cars.
“Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we must practice social distancing, therefore we cannot pack all 1,000 people into a single train,” Chaiwat Tongkamkoon, permanent transport secretary, said Friday.
Passengers must stay 1 meter apart to help decrease the risk of COVID-19 infection.
Chaiwat said the BTS operator has increased frequency of train arrivals to accommodate commuters during rush hours, with the Sukhumvit Line running trains every 2.4 minutes and the Silom Line roughly every 3.5 minutes.
Currently the BTS Skytrain operates 98 trains, each of which has four cars, making for 392 cars in total.
Chaiwat did not elaborate on how the measures would be enforced, nor did he discuss how platforms would be kept safe if the reduced capacity led to longer waits.
In late March, BTS commuters were told they had to wear face masks.