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BANGKOK 23 May 2019 03:42
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webfact

Suvarnabhumi Airport Link - What A Mess!

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Oh, Poor Airport Link

BANGKOK: -- Finally, the Airport Rail Link is officially opened for commercial services on Monday (Aug 23), after seven years of construction. The high-speed trains, though, do not look as new as they should. In fact, they look as if they had been bought at a clearance sale. Even Chinese trains look far more dashing.

The 28-kilometer rail route costs more than 30 billion baht in investment and has been subject to a vast amount of criticisms and negative press. Much of the grilling has been directed towards the project contractor, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction.

Despite its name, the Airport Rail Link isn't actually connected to any airport. According to the original plan, the route should have linked Don Muang Airport with Suvarnabhumi Airport, but ended up with the last stop only at Phaya Thai Station in Bangkok’s downtown area.

What’s worse, the station does not even connect with a BTS station which is just a short distance away.

The first day of commercial run was nothing but a mess. Commuters paid full fares, but could not check in their luggages because the Thai Airways counters were closed and no one knows when they will open.

Hundreds of current Airport Rail Link staff are not full-time employees of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT). The railway authority hired Sasin Institute of Chulalongkorn University to recruit people and oversee salary payments on its behalf.

It remains unknown which organization these employees are working for. Who will be held responsible when problems arise? How desperate it is to see how the SRT and Thai politicians wasted precious tax payers' money.

Anyone who has been to Makkasan Station must have been upset about its poor condition that does not reflect the enormous investment put in. I cannot explain exactly how it looks. You’ve got to see it with your own eyes. Compared with Hong Kong’s Airport Rail Link, the difference are like heaven and hell.

The road system around the Makkasan Station has not been expanded to accommodate more future traffic. Those who regularly pass through the area, especially during rush hours and on rainy days, would know well how terrible the traffic can be.

Whoever is thinking about boarding the Airport Link train at the Makasan Station to Suvarnabhumi Airport should give it a second thought, because they could miss their flights. If anything, using the motorway could be a better choice.

Moreover, travelers are not safe from hassles when they travel via the rail link to the international airport. They have to heave their luggages upstairs from the train station in order to check in at the airline counters on the forth floors.

The Ministry of Transport has anticipated an operating loss in the first three years. But I doubt whether the SRT could really break even after the 3-yr period. Or the Airport Rail Link is destined to be in the sea of red ink forever just like our clunky rail services.

‘Mai Het Prathet Thai’ column, Thairath newspaper, August 25th, 2010

Written by Lom Plian Thit

Translated and rewritten by Wacharapol Isaranont

Please note that the views expressed in our "Analysis" segment are translated from local newspaper articles and do not reflect the views of the Thai-ASEAN News Network.

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-- Tan Network 2010-08-26

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I am not surprise at all but we have to give them time to re think about all details ,after all similar problems happened when they opened the new airport. But who are to be blame for such silly details ? I guess the architects who didn't think about luggage for travelers ( that's a joke knowing this is an airport link) . After all its still better , faster to take a taxi to the city center. Who want to be stuck in traffic after flying so long ? :angry::angry:

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Come on now, let's look at the positive side: All that money that was saved by putting this whole thing up with minimal costs bought some nice cars and houses for all the officials involved.

The question presents itself once again: STUPID, or EVIL. I go with evil this time ;)

post-20814-057719400 1282797337_thumb.jp

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Whoever had the idea of placing the terminal for the express trains at Makkasan should have their head examined.... or maybe more useful to check who owned the land and makes a profit out of it. Pattaya would have been the obvious place. As it is now, it's probably faster to take the slow train to Payathai.

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I am not surprise at all but we have to give them time to re think about all details ,after all similar problems happened when they opened the new airport. But who are to be blame for such silly details ? I guess the architects who didn't think about luggage for travelers ( that's a joke knowing this is an airport link) . After all its still better , faster to take a taxi to the city center. Who want to be stuck in traffic after flying so long ? :angry::angry:

"After all its still better, faster to take a taxi to the city center"

Umm, so let me understand this. The "Airport Link" is not connected to the actual airport so you need to find transportation there. You wait for a train for an uncertain amount of time due to delays and such. When you arrive at the "downtown" station, you have to take a taxi to your final destination. This whole time you are carrying your luggage around, being accosted by touts trying to sell you things, and in the BKK heat.

Whereas myself, I'll walk out of the arrivals hall, jump in a taxi with my luggage, take the highway and arrive at my home on Sukhumvit for 220 baht plus 50 surcharge.

I'll take the second option thanks :)

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Is anyone surprised? I've heard that the rails were fast but this was before the actual opening. The pricing had better be at most 50 baht per person for all the inconveniences with luggage and logistics and typical 'not-convenient- for-the-user' Thai infrastructure. 200-250 baht door to door with taking metered taxis is much better without the inconveniences. When you're budgeting that much money for a mega-project for the country, you'd better have it all planned out well. It's only in Thailand where they 'do' before 'thinking' about results and consequences. In Thailand they are known for creating and starting new events and projects, but never good at maintaining and finishing. The Thai government should learn from Singapore or Hong Kong, or any other country for that matter. Let's see what happens in the next year on this rail line.

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I am not surprise at all but we have to give them time to re think about all details ,after all similar problems happened when they opened the new airport. But who are to be blame for such silly details ? I guess the architects who didn't think about luggage for travelers ( that's a joke knowing this is an airport link) . After all its still better , faster to take a taxi to the city center. Who want to be stuck in traffic after flying so long ? :angry::angry:

"After all its still better, faster to take a taxi to the city center"

Umm, so let me understand this. The "Airport Link" is not connected to the actual airport so you need to find transportation there. You wait for a train for an uncertain amount of time due to delays and such. When you arrive at the "downtown" station, you have to take a taxi to your final destination. This whole time you are carrying your luggage around, being accosted by touts trying to sell you things, and in the BKK heat.

Whereas myself, I'll walk out of the arrivals hall, jump in a taxi with my luggage, take the highway and arrive at my home on Sukhumvit for 220 baht plus 50 surcharge.

I'll take the second option thanks :)

The airport link is connected to the airport at one end - the airport station is on the level below the taxi rank.

The OP makes the comment that it doesn't connect the two airports. Was that ever intended? It would have been a good idea, except that there was probably no intention of having Don Meuang still in operation, so no need for a link between the two.

Have there been delays? Certainly no mention of it in the OP, nor have I seen mention of it else where.

I don't think with the connections to the BTS or MRT make it worth using unless you have little luggage, but travelling on the BTS or MRT with any luggage is not a good idea anyway.

The bottom line, IMO, is the lack of road connections around Makkasan station. If it was easy to get in and out of, then it would be useful for avoiding peak hour or rain affected traffic. At the moment, there only appears to be a road connection on/off Asoke/Ratchada. If there was road connections to/from Kamphaeng Phet 7, which makes it easier to get to Petchaburi and Suk Soi 3, and if it was easier to get in there from Ratchada or off the expressway, then it would make it a whole lot easier to use.

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Obviously a boondoggle, made worse by not being able to tell superiors about improvements

so they won't lose face, nor make changes to the plan for the same reasons. Over and above

the usual monetary slight of hand. A cock-up in one language and a cluster-fuc_k in another....

one that no fiscal Viagra will adequately deal with. It simply is incapable of meeting design criteria.

Hotel taxi to airport direct will remain the chosen mode,

except for the 'unwanted' backpacker set, for the foreseeable future.

LOS Land Of Sadness.

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I think it makes it cheap & easy for airport staff to get to work & not a lot else.

One wonders how many billion baht were raked off the top as kick-backs?

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Wow, I am really surprised that so many things were missed with this. A couple of glitches are usual for big projects, but this is ridiculous. So much money wasted...

TheWalkingMan

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It's sad..so many years to complete the connection...so many chances to get feedback on potential problems...so many years to resolve the problems before officially opening...but instead I expect the mentality is each person was to complete their cog in the machine and not to provide serious feedback/recommendations on how well that cog fitted or it was obvious additional or redesigned cogs were needed. God forbid that another Thai cog would suggest to another Thai cog that there is a problem in the machine..why that might cause conflict or loss of face...can't have that....instead, everyone smiles while subquality design and construction continues/completes,. Then everyone moves on to the next project wih a big smile.

I hope they can resolve the problems in a reasonable amount of time and not to much additional money...nothing like getting it right on the second try, or third try, or....

Head, sand, Ostrich, corruption.

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Well i need to open my mouth on this.. Webfact has disinformation at least on one issue. I just yesterday used City Link from Makkasan to Phayathai and I did not have any problems to walk from Airport link station to Phayathai BTS station.

There are bridge between those stations and no need to go on street level.

--jp

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Does the train actually stop at Sruvanabhumi airport? Is it a matter of getting off the train close to or inside the terminal building?

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