Today was the first full day of operation for the new BRT bus in Bangkok that runs in a dedicated lane. So, I thought I would head into Bangkok to check it out. Looks like thousands of other people had the same idea! Check out my google map of the route. This first picture shows the special buses that are used for the BRT route. This stands for Bus Rapid Transit. The buses go from Sathorn Station to Ratchaphreuk Station. There are 25 buses and 12 stations on the 15 kilometer route.
BTS Chong Nonsri is an interchange skytrain station for people wanting to catch a bus at BRT Sathorn. There is a special sky-walkway which only take about five minutes. This pictures is looking towards BTS Chong Nonsri.
This is the terminal station called BRT Sathorn. The bus is trying to do a u-turn here. It is a sharp corner for them. Up above is the ticket hall where you purchase the tickets. At the moment it is free until 31st August 2010.
This is a picture of the ticket hall. Even though it is free at the moment you still need to go to the ticket office to get a ticket. In September, I believe the prices will go up to 10 baht until the end of the year.
You then go down an escalator to the waiting room. I couldn’t believe that it was air-conditioned! There are monitors here and and up in the ticket area that tell you in Thai and English the expected arrival time of the next bus.
This is a shot of the inside of the bus. This is air-conditioned too. At this time it wasn’t too crowded. Later it was so packed that the air was starting to get hot. They have a monitor in the bus too that tells you your location and the next station.
I took this shot from the taxi on my return trip. I was trying to race the bus to see who was quicker. You can see here that they have a dedicated lane. The taxi took 27 minutes (including about 7 minutes when he got lost and had to do a u-turn) and cost 137 baht. The BRT bus took 51 minutes & was free.
The drivers are not very experienced yet and have to approach the stations very slowly as you will see in my video. In this picture you can see the guiding wheels they have and also the scrapes on the side of the bus from the first day of operation. By the end of the day they were more efficient and they reckon they will do the route in only 30 minutes!
– Posted from my iPhone