THAILAND: A 2013 opening is now envisaged for Bangkok's Purple Line, after Japan Bank for International Co-operation signed a 25-year loan agreement worth ¥62·4bn following months of negotiations.
Invitations to tender were issued at the end of April, and bids are due to be returned by August. Work is expected to take 45 months on a fixed-price contract basis.
The 23 km Purple Line will run on a 19 m high viaduct from Bang Sue northwest to Bang Yai, with 16 stations serving areas of high population density which are currently reliant on buses for public transport. A 330 m bridge will span the Chao Phraya River.
The line is to be operated by a private concessionaire, but unlike the existing Skytrain line it will be designed with step-free access for disabled passengers. An initial daily ridership of 200 000 is anticipated, growing to 290 000 by 2022.
- Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has said the government intends to take over the Skytrain elevated metro by buying outstanding debt owned by Bangkok Mass Transit System Co at a cost of around 50bn baht. The government is once again considering plans for a unified ticketing scheme across the capital.