The much-delayed Grey Line, linking Vacharapol to Thong Lor and Lumphini Park with Tha Phra, has finally been given the green light.
The reason for the delay has mainly been land access issues, so the plan has been modified over time. Indeed it will run as two separate sections with the line running from Vacharapol linking to the underserved Kaset Nawamin Road and then via Ladprao 87 on towards Rama 9, Petchaburi Road and Thong Lor. The second section running from Lumphini Park will provide access to important areas such as Sathorn Road, Rama 3 Road and Charoen Krung Road before ending at Tha Phra.
The entire cost of the combined project is expected to be 40 billion baht and it will be built by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). It will sport 32 stations and will open up new areas of Bangkok to the mass transit system master plan.
The deputy governor of Bangkok, Sakoltee Phattiyakul, was quoted as saying,”The Grey Line has always been a high priority for Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang. We have been working hard to make it come true. Recently, hurdles have been cleared. The Grey Line can serve city folks as soon as 2023.”
Some creative measures will be used to bring the Monorail to life, including agreements with the Expressway Authority of Thailand (EXAT) to utilize its land along the Ram Intra-At Narong Expressway. As well, the Bus Rapid Transit lane that runs from Chong Nongsi BTS station along Rama 3 Road, will be replaced by a section of the Grey Line monorail.
Mr. Sakoltee was also quoted as saying, “A monorail is smaller than the skytrain and subway. But the Grey Line can serve up to 35,000 passenger trips per hour and that is quite a lot,” adding, “City Hall supports the Grey Line project because it does not require a huge investment like the skytrain and subway. It will also not affect locals residents as officials will not expropriate their land.”
The line will certainly help to alleviate traffic problems along its route and has won the backing of the Ministry of Transport. It is also a key part of Bangkok’s overall mass transit plan, as it will support connections to the Brown Line.
The deputy office chief of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, Chayathan Promsorn, was quoted as saying, “This project has a rather good value-for-money if we take into account the number of passengers that the line can serve relative to the cost of constructing the structure.”