As passenger vans move from Victory Monument and Chatuchak, life gets harder for Bangkok’s poor

Passengers are confused as the inter-province passenger vans have moved from their longtime homes at Chatuchak and Victory Monument to the city’s more remote bus depots.

The more than 4,000 vans have been moved yesterday from the easily accessible neighborhoods of Victory Monument and Chatuchak to the city’s harder to access bus terminals.

All of the inter-province vans will now leave from: Mo Chit 2, for vans headed North, Northeast and central; Sai Tai Mai, for vans headed South; and Ekkamai, for vans headed East, reported Bangkok Post.

That means if you want to take a trip to Pattaya, you have to catch the van at Ekkamai. For a ride to Hua Hin beach in Prachuap Kirikhan province, take the van at Sai Tai Mai.

Yesterday, Deputy Transport Minister Ormsin Chivapruck said that drivers and van companies were onboard (pun intended) with the move out to the bus depots.

That’s no surprise, the relocation was partially enacted to keep the bus drivers from parking and sitting illegally on the already crowded streets near Chatuchak and Victory Monument, causing traffic issues and being hassled by police.

However, today those drivers reported a steep drop in the number of passengers traveling in their vans, reported Thai PBS.

Online, locals complain about the van relocation with many saying that it increases the transportation costs and inconvenience for van users, many of whom have low income.

“For the South route, there are no BTS and MRT near the station. No need to talk about how horrible the traffic in Pin Klao is. This policy causes a burden to the middle-class folks who use vans as their main transportations,” Ooee Wattana wrote.

“These days I wake up at 4am and take a two-hour van ride to work in Bangkok. Now I have to work up even earlier to go to work,” commented Pudnambut Chimpalee, who claimed he has a farm and baby to take care of.

However, Ormsin noted that Bangkok Metropolitan Transit Authority (BMTA) shuttle buses would be able to take passengers to the depots for free. They will run from Chatuchak to Mo Chit 2; and from Victory Monument to Sai Tai Mai and Mo Chit 2; daily from 5:30am until 8:30pm. Those headed to Sai Tai Mai will start even earlier at 4:30am.

The bus run frequency will depend on passenger demand. Ormsin noted that passengers still seemed confused about how to use the buses to reach the desired depot.

For the moment, officers will be at each shuttle stop around Victory Monument to direct people and answer questions. Signs have also been installed.


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