According to the Regional Bureau of Transportation and Traffic Promotion, OTP, Niran Kaetkeaw, the light-rail system of Phuket is on the right track with regards to progress. Mr. Niran shared that the e-bidding for the light-rail is set to begin in 2019 and the bidding will close the following year. As soon as bidding closes, construction will begin and the light-rail system will be completed in 2022. This is good news for tourists and businesses including Novotel in Phuket which will benefit from the project.
Mr. Niran added that the trial period will last for the first year and by 2023 the light-rail system will be fully available to serve the general public. The legal authority to monitor the project’s progress has been given to the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand or MRTA. At the same time, MRTA has been gathering feedback from the public as well as related agencies to help determine the terms necessary for the government tender which is under public and private partnership.
The report will be forwarded to the Ministry of Transport which will help in faster processing of the government tender documents. The first 41.7 kilometres will begin construction during the first six months of 2022 or before 2023 starts. The allotted budget for the first part is 30.154 billion baht.
The whole project will span 58.52 kilometers and the total cost will amount to 39.406 billion baht. The northern part of the route will stick along Thepkrasattri Road. The route was chosen based on the survey that showed that it provides access to a lot of communities located on both sides and it also pass through 40 different schools. The light-rail will be able to service the local residents as well as the students around the area.
Mr. Niran explained that the main goal of the light-rail system is to provide convenience and to decrease the population of private cars. Tourists departing from Phuket International Airport, on the other hand, can ride the light-rail and reach Phuket Town, their accommodations such as Novotel in Phuket or any other parts of the island without the need to hire or rent a private car.