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BANGKOK, 11 Feb 2017:
Light rail transit (LRT) projects in Chiang Mai and Phuket, tourist destinations in Thailand’s north and south, are on the horizon in 2017, Thai deputy prime minister Somkid Jatusriptitak said on Thursday.
Somkid said the country hopes to launch at least two routes of rail projects to push local economic development. Somikd, who oversees the country’s economy, said a 43km LRT with US$800 million invested will cover 20 stations starting from Phuket airport to the inner city.
Last month, transport minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the transit plans for Phuket, a famous destination home to Thailand’s best beaches and high-end resorts, were likely to get off the ground first in June as the project has been included in the 2017 budget and the design is under way.
A multiple feasibility study for rail projects in Chiang Mai, the hub of northern Thailand where traffic gridlock has worsened, has been authorised by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand.
Arkhom said the 40km rail network with 33 stations is expected to begin construction by this year.
Local authorities or private companies could either invest jointly or solely in the projects from which they can directly benefit, said Arkham, adding that private companies could handle either the construction or operations.
The public transport systems in the two tourist destinations now are far from satisfactory. The most common commuters are “songthaews” adapted from pick-up or larger truck with two benches and neither seat belts nor any other safety equipment on board.