We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Why BTS can't absorb more?

hong kong
Level Contributor
310 posts
45 reviews
Save Topic
Why BTS can't absorb more?

Just don't understand why BTS can't create one more compartment to ease the ever increasing crowd. Station like Siam where interchange takes place always get packed. Who knows why ?

Torre del Mar, Spain
Level Contributor
3,001 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Why BTS can't absorb more?

BTS and MRT are the easiest ways to avoid the nightmare jams on Bangkok roads so people use them when they can.

Siam is the interchange station, so crowded there and with more capacity, maybe more people would use it so just as crowded.

I could get on an empty train at On Nut at one time but now they have extended the route to Bearing, I have often found all the seats taken by time the train gets there.

It's what you expect of a capital city with eight and a quarter million people.

Chiang Klang...
Level Contributor
902 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Why BTS can't absorb more?

They have increased capacity on the Sukhumvit line and will do on the Silom line, but with more people finding the service so useful, and routes often being expanded, its hard to keep up when planning is poor. The urban rail system is actually undergoing a big expansion right now with about 12 new lines either under construction or planned to start soon. And while the registered population is around 8 million, the actual numbers living in the city is estimated at closer to 12 million.

Level Contributor
1,817 posts
367 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Why BTS can't absorb more?

Avoid rush hour

Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Bangkok
Level Contributor
6,248 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Why BTS can't absorb more?

That same question is probably asked in every major city in the world. The answer usually boils down to budget.

Yorkshire, United...
Level Contributor
3,613 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Why BTS can't absorb more?

Why should they the next train is probably less than 5 minutes away.

Once was at Siam wanting to get to Victory Monument at about 6.15pm. The queue was so bad and the trains so full had to let 3 trains go before finally getting a very crushed 4th train. Seem to recollect was only waiting 10-15 minutes.

That's rush hour for you on a very busy line and like Mmonkie says happens in many other major cities.

Mentioned in this post
Victory Monument
Victory Monument
569 Reviews
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
3,092 posts
645 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Why BTS can't absorb more?

Building on rubarabbit's response, and the Bangkok situation:

1. Public transport has been (allegedly, by some pundits.... lol) used as a political football. Bangkok is often headed by a person from a different political party from that controlling the national government. Neither wants to help the other get credit for a political victory. Etc..

2. The SkyTrain started with huge debts, and was initially making too little to pay operating expenses, let alone total costs. And the political football games have ("allegedly") added a bit of uncertainty over their future revenue streams. So they have been reluctant to invest in extra trainsets, or in cars to lengthen existing trainsets. Should they be running 6-car trains by now? Singapore has been doing it with the MRT since, I believe, day 1... (and maybe Hong Kong, also)..

3. As rubarabbit has alluded - planning has had some slip-ups. A classic one was with the Metro underground. Trackage and station infrastructure was almost complete when they discovered that they hadn't finalized the order for cars. That order was then rushed. The first cars were even shipped BY AIR as they wanted them ASAP to start testing the system. A page on this:


Read more on the underground here:


Likewise, the SkyTrain station construction was underway when someone asked - where are the escalators or lifts? What about access by non-athletes? At the time budget worries were very high - and BTS was very reluctant to add the expense of such stuff (if I recall correctly). That may help explain the spotty installations of escalators to SkyTrain stations compared with the underground.

With that as background, one may just be grateful that they run the aircon in the trains, rather than switching the aircon off to reduce electricity costs!

4. And one might read about attempts prior to the SkyTrain - such as the Hopewell project and even the State Railway, to understand the accomplishment of getting to where Bangkok's public transport infrastructure is today. The current "system" is extremely *sophisticated* even if it has some haphazard elements and is strained almost to bursting by people making heavy use of it. The blend of SkyTrain, Metro underground, Airport Link, State Railway, Chao Phraya Express Boat, cross river ferries, Khlong Saen Saeb boat, Bus, Bus Rapid Transit - including major buildout on the rail lines going on right now, and huge numbers of taxis - motorbike taxis {which can deliver pad thai to your home, or take your cat to the vet so you don't have to go} and tuk tuks, plus a bit of walking, can get you *anywhere*, with multiple options, at *any* time if you plan things right and make provisions for possible traffic and other delays. Could it be better organized? Who would say no? But can it be made to work? Of course..

Mentioned in this post
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Berlin, Thailand
Level Contributor
19,263 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Why BTS can't absorb more?

A lot of the missteps and delays in construction have to do with the political instability of recent years. But it's possible that when all the lines under construction finally open, it will take some of the pressure off the lines that now exist. Also remember that there's a substantial delay between ordering railcars and trainsets and getting them delivered. It's clear that no one expected the BTS to be so popular back when it opened. I can recall "experts" saying that ordinary people wouldn't be able to afford to take it.

I agree with Earthling that transportation in Bangkok is fantastic if you take the whole system into consideration. Tourists tend to be reluctant to take advantage of some elements like the Sean Saeb Canal boats, and I guess most westerners are afraid of motorcycle taxis (or aren't even aware of their existence).

Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
16,112 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Why BTS can't absorb more?

More that the political instability, the political institution has been, in large part, responsible for many missteps. Everyone wants a piece of the pie.

Foresight and need take a backdoor to payoffs and political desires.

When it comes to motorcycle taxis, and the canal boats, even Thais only use them out of necessity.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
1,367 posts
68 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Why BTS can't absorb more?

maybe they cant afford to.

We have been on the BTS in peak hour, its the same as anywhere in peak hour. packed!

I cant catch a bus in the morning and get a seat 99% of the time i have to stand, australian government wont put new buses on just because you cant get a seat




newcastle upon tyne
Level Contributor
11,938 posts
163 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Why BTS can't absorb more?

My oldish Bangkok guidebook, said the BTS wasn't that busy because it was relatively expensive for the locals to use. Imagine my surprise on my 1st day in Bangkok, a Saturday morning at 8am, when the train arrived at Nana to take me into the city centre, the doors opened & I was met by a solid wall of people :).

Never saw an empty seat on the Sukhumvit line in the week I used it. Very busy system, & obviously needs a huge increase in operating capacity, simply to cope with the demand.

The Silo line wasn't that busy at all, in comparison.