Reducing Bangkok bus trips to fight COVID makes no sense: people everywhere

A historic photo of people boarding a Bangkok bus from the old days. The photo’s origins are unknown.
A historic photo of people boarding a Bangkok bus from the old days. The photo’s origins are unknown.

The metropolitan bus operator’s oh-so-amazing plan to reduce bus trips by cramming more people into fewer went over like a cloud of diesel fumes today. 

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority’s Tuesday announcement that it would reduce service starting tomorrow in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 was met with a quick response stating the obvious, that maybe packing buses with an easily communicable disease was not the most brilliant response.

“What you should’ve done is increase the number of bus trips to reduce crowding, not reduce the trips!” tweeted MP Suttawan Suban Na Ayutthaya of the opposition Move Forward Party. “Some people still have to work at offices, and they need public transportation. Some people cannot just stay at home and have cash pouring from the sky. People still have to earn their daily bread.”

The plan was announced by the transit authority’s director, Surachai Eiamwachirasakul, as its buses see dwindling ridership due to more people working from home and the closure of schools through at least May. Surachai didn’t specify how many trips service would be reduced by nor upon which routes.

Either way, the bid struck many as a mismatch of cause and effect.

“This is frigging ironic. You want to reduce crowding, but instead of adding more trips, you did the opposite thing. I’m tired of berating you,” Facebooker Worakan Khawpakchong wrote.

Thailand today reported a record-high number of COVID-related fatalities – 15 deaths – along with 2,179 new infections, raising the total since the outbreak began last year to 59,687 infections and 163 deaths.

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CITY: BANGKOKCATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: HEALTH, TRANSPORTATIONTAGS:

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