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A metro system for Vientiane?
Singapore's massive mass timber building, New Manila Airport update, developing North Bali, HCMC revives polluted canal, and more transport and infrastructure news in Southeast Asia.
Greetings from Muang Xay! I’m visiting every station on the Laos-China Railway that has an express service (there are 5 stations in all). I will be doing a travel report for the railway when I have been to every station. In the meantime, here are some photos from my Vientiane to Luang Prabang trip.
Vientiane Station is about 15km outside the city centre. During the taxi ride to the train station, I got thinking about public transport in Vientiane. There is a plan to build a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) in Vientiane, which would be useful for connecting the station to the city. In my research on this topic, I found some proposals that included a light rail, and another proposal that included a commuter rail. The light rail/commuter combo could then form a “Vientiane Metro System”. It’s unlikely to happen (very unlikely), but it has been publically proposed so it goes on the record here at Future Southeast Asia.
Vientiane has a population of nearly 1 million people, so it is not big enough to support a metro. Having said that, I looked up what is the smallest city in the world to have a full metro system, and it is Lausanne in Switzerland (population 139,111). When it comes to fiscal matters, Laos is not Switzerland. Another reason why this will not happen.
What do I know about anything though? If you had told me 10 years ago that there would be a train from Vientiane to Luang Prabang I would have choked on my Lao khao soi. So if someone wants to build a light rail, then go for it.
While I’m in Laos I will be featuring articles about places I visit here. This week’s article is a fact sheet on the future Vientiane public transport system, in whatever form it takes.
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