Faced with skyrocketing oil prices and a slumping economy, the government of Thailand scrapped part of its planned Bangkok electric train project due to its high price tag.
The $41.7 billion network of seven electric train lines, which would run above and below ground, was not feasible under the current economic conditions, said Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Instead of rail service, the government proposed that a rapid bus service, with a decidedly lower price range of $8.5 billion to $14 billion, run along the same routes. The money saved would be diverted to a water management project, said Shinawatra.
Although Bangkok already has a light rail system — the Skytrain — severe traffic congestion remains a chronic problem in the city. The Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS), owner of the Skytrain, is looking to formalize talks of a possible sale of the system to the government. According to the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, it would cost an estimated $1.2 billion to acquire the BTS.