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Bangkok’s Infrastructure Woes

Pattaya One

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Thailand's planners and politicians seem incapable of building major infrastructure projects which put the needs of passengers first.

Instead, commuter ends up with badly designed, ill-thought out schemes, which seem to have considerations other than passenger comfort and convenience at their heart.

The MRT, airport link, and even the airport itself, were all clearly deficient when it came to what was needed for passengers. All these projects have (or had, the airport is getting better) a distinct lack of toilets and seating, and seemingly little thought wasted on the requirements, convenience or comfort of the passengers who would actually be using them.

However, I am sure the builders and operators are happy with the resulting cavernous, expensively and lavishly built concrete structures, where unbridled capitalism then runs riot.

In the airport we saw this with the space allocated to the duty free concessions, often right in the way of emergency exits, and of passengers rushing to gates. The whole place seemed designed for major commercial impact, and a disgraceful lack of seating, toilets and moving walkways for passengers only reinforced this.

On the airport link, there are gigantic stations like Makkasan, vast empty spaces, built in the middle of nowhere, with no seats for passengers, no facilities, but tons of lovely, expensive concrete used to make them.

Many airport link stations have no toilets either, even extremely busy ones.

And when the hapless, knackered, bag-carrying passengers arrive at the airport rail link station platform, they find to their astonishment that there are no seats for passengers while they wait for the trains.

Who cares? It’s only passengers that are being inconvenienced.

Luckily for those depressed passengers, in these infrastructure projects, all commercial and advertising opportunities have been capitalized on, with ads, billboards and the like festooned everywhere.

And don't even get me started on the ear-splitting sound levels of adverts on the BTS and, worse, MRT, which have recently been ratcheted up to levels which even seem to annoy Thais.

On the MRT subway the other day I noticed where there should be straps for standing commuters to hold on to, there are adverts hanging from the rails instead.

And of course no seats or toilets in the majority of MRT stations.

This lack of concern for the end-user of these massive infrastructure projects strikes most foreigners as contemptible, but I doubt it will change in the near future, as every time anyone gets a sniff of an infrastructure project in Thailand, the question: “how can we best design this for the end-user” doesn't seem to figure much at any stage of the planning process, and only afterwards does it become an issue, when it has been built, badly.


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Overall I agree with your POV. However, at the airport the requisite number of toilets were planned in by the architect and were indeed built. Just the access to them got blocked off by extra shops sqeezed in to obtain more rent.


Have the passenger walkways at Makkasan & Phaya Thai been finished yet?

Edited by BangkokBangher
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