Lat Phrao will soon join the warm embrace of BTS civilization when another station along the popular rail line opens Friday.
After successful trial runs and four years of traffic-crippling construction work, the link to BTS Ha Yaek Lat Phrao will be ready for public use at 3pm on Aug. 9, the operator of Bangkok’s most-used mass transit system said today. Better yet, passengers can ride free until the fare table is finalized.
The extension, which will ultimately stop at 16 stations along 19 kilometers, is meant to alleviate overcrowding at BTS Mo Chit, which receives upward of 80,000 commuters daily, said Surapong Laoha-unya, director of the Bangkok Mass Transit System. The extension will also support the growing numbers of commuters traveling to and from the northern suburbs.
Fares for the extension, however, are still being negotiated and should be set within a couple of months. Until then, passengers can ride to BTS Ha Yaek Lat Phrao for free.
Work on the northern Green Line extension of the Sukhumvit Line past BTS Mo Chit started in 2015. Earlier this year, City Hall, which owns the system, announced that five more stations would come online before year’s end. By year’s end, at least four more stops will open along the route at Phahon Yothin 24, Ratchayothin, Sena Nikhom and Kasetsart University. The 11 remaining stations, all the way to BTS Khu Kot in Pathum Thani, are scheduled to open by late 2020.
So get ready, Bangkokians, starting next week, BTS Mo Chit will no longer be the end of the world, nearly 20 years after it opened.
Fares have been ordered capped at THB65 (US$2.10), however. While that may not seem steep to some, a recent report conducted by the Thailand Development Research Institute found fares were already too high compared to base wages in the kingdom, as low-income Thais can only afford THB11.7.
Many transportation developments are coming to fruition this month. Just yesterday, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority announced that it has begun testing Bangkok’s new subway extension under Chinatown and the Chao Phraya River. They plan on launching a free pilot service to the public later this month.
Update: This story has been updated to reflect the new opening date.