Hello from Chiang Mai. The last time I was here I had to leave early due to the burning season. I posted in a previous newsletter that the AQI in Chiang Mai was 153. I went back to the same cafe that shows AQI readings, and the AQI was down to 29. Yay for fresh mountain air in the rainy season!
I left Bangkok just before a new monorail line opened, and now I read in the news that the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed rail might not open in August. It’s difficult to time my travels to opening events in this part of the world. I will still plan a trip to Indonesia, even if the railway isn’t open. At least now there is a new flight from HCMC to Jakarta, so I can get there at shorter notice.
This week I visited Phitsanulok in Thailand to see the route of a proposed transit system. I have published a fact sheet with all the details, and for paid subscribers, I have a trip report with more commentary on Phitsanulok.
• Phitsanulok Mass Transit – Auto Tram System
• Phitsanulok trip report
The provincial city with a preposterous plan for a 5-line mass transit system, and how the proposed high-speed rail to Chiang Mai could transform its fortunes.
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Bangkok opened a section of a new transit line on the weekend. As someone who is based in Ho Chi Minh City where there are zero transit lines, I am deeply envious.
There are enormous problems though with the Bangkok urban transit system, which has been getting just as much attention this week. The Bangkok Post pointed out the 'missing link' between the Yellow and Green Lines.
There are calls to connect this obvious gap between the lines, but the lines are operated by two different companies. From the news article:
“…the project hasn't progressed anywhere as the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), the operator of the Blue Line, is opposed to the project. According to a feasibility study on the missing link, the Blue Line stands to lose 4,800 passengers per day in the first year of the extension opening. This is roughly equal to about 2.7 billion baht throughout the 30-year concession, said the source.”
I have ranted about the station transfer mess and the ticketing mess of Bangkok’s rail transit, and I will surely rant about it again when I do my annual Bangkok transit system report.
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In a case of bad timing, I departed Bangkok the day before the Yellow Line opened. Hopefully, the Pink Line will partially open when I return so I can include that in the annual transit report.
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