Phuket Island light rail transit
|Locale||Phuket and Phang Nga, Thailand|
|Transit type||Light rail transit|
|Number of lines||1|
|Number of stations||23 or 24|
|Operation will start||2023–2024|
|System length||58.6 km (36.4 mi)|
|Phuket Island LRT|
The Phuket Island Light Rail Transit project is a planned 58.6 km light rail transit system for Phuket and Phang Nga Provinces in Thailand. The completed project will consist of 23 or 24 stations from Takua Thung District in Phang Nga Province to Phuket City, then terminating at Chalong. Phase one will connect Phuket International Airport to Chalong. The second phase will extend the line north to Takua Thung District. The line will have both at-grade and elevated sections. The cost of the project is estimated at 39.4 billion baht (approximately US$1.2 billion).
The original plan for mass transit on Phuket Island was first proposed in 2005. However, it was not until 2010 that the Phuket governor proposed a heavy rail metro idea as a requirement for the island to meet increasing tourism and local transport demands. By mid-2014, the project had evolved into a planned light rail line of nearly 60 km in length running from the north of the island to the south. The Ministry of Transport approved the project in principle in November 2015. Public meetings were held in February 2017 seeking feedback and comments from the public into the project.
In April 2017, it was announced that the MRTA had approved the Ministry of Transport's Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) design of the project with a view to seeking cabinet approval in 2018. Cabinet approval was granted on 11 September 2018. It is seen as a virtual guarantee that the project will proceed.
The LRT line will run along the north-south axis of Phuket Island. The planned route stretches from Takua Thung in Phang Nga to Chalong in Phuket. Phase one will connect Phuket International Airport with Chalong, about 40 kilometres. Phase one construction is expected to take three years. The MRTA and the OTP are studying the second phase, from Takua Thung to Phuket Airport.
The line is projected to serve up to 70,000 passengers per day, passing by 40 schools and business districts en route. Fares are expected to cost from 15 to 25 baht. Some critics have cited officials to say that fares will top out at 100–137 baht.
Contracts for project investment studies will be signed by the end of July 2018. The studies will take around four months to complete. They will then be submitted to the MRTA board for approval by early-2019, after which they will be reviewed by the Transport Ministry. Bidding for the project will start in 2020.
Phuket provincial authorities have reportedly been in discussions with both Siemens and Bombardier regarding the project.
According to OTP Deputy Director Wilairat Sirisoponsil, the Phuket light rail project design is complete, and has been added into the PPP (Public–Private Partnership) Fast Track.
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