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From Buses to Skytrain, Public Transport Back to Full Capacity

Masked passengers sit inside a BTS Skytrain in Bangkok. (Photo: Bangkok Herald)
Masked passengers sit inside a BTS Skytrain in Bangkok. (Photo: Bangkok Herald)

Public transport can again operate at full capacity after the Center for Covid-19 Administration Situation lifted more coronavirus-control restrictions.

Welcoming the relaxation, Manote Saichuto, acting president of the Transport Co. interprovincial bus operator, predicted that without capacity limitations, the company will now break even this year.

Each trip should have more than 70 percent of passenger capacity. Currently, the daily passenger number is about 40,000-50,000, still down from 80,000 on average before the pandemic.

More people are using personal cars and travel less due to fear of crowds and a depressed economy, he said.

After the relaxation, the company and its bus concessionaires will have increased frequency on popular routes and are resuming service on suspended routes.

Meanwhile, Marine Department chief Witthaya Yamuang said his agency soon will begin informing operators of passenger boats and express boats on the Chao Phraya River and Saen Saeb Canal to relax the rules.

He said the relaxation will reduce passenger waiting times and operators can earn more. During the implementation of the Covid-19 social-distancing measures, each boat could carry only 20 percent of its full capacity.

State Railway of Thailand Gov. Nirut Maneephan said the lifting of capacity limits will facilitate commuters riding trains from Bangkok’s outskirts to work in the capital. The SRT will be able to sell standing-room tickets for that group of passengers.

BTS Skytrain also will discuss with the Rail Transport Department to ease capacity rules that lead to long lines at stations.

Other Covid-19 control measures will be maintained for all public transport such as body temperature checks, mask-wearing and provision of hand sanitizer.