Pattaya plans monorail route
BANGKOK, 18 January 2011 - Two new infrastructure projects will alter the face of Pattaya according to chairman of the strategic advisory committee, Visnu Palayanon, who was briefing newspapers on the developments at Thailand's oldest international beach resort, last week.
He confirmed the city was ready to start two major projects that will change the lifestyle of the resort. Pattaya is hosting a late-night party at the ASEAN Tourism Forum, Thursday, at the recently opened Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, to promote its events related facilities to international buyers.
The first one will offer visitors a comfortable commute around the resort on a monorail as early as 2014.
A second project will also benefit tourists who enjoy cruises, water sports and hops to the island by speed boat. They will be able to board boats safely and conveniently at a new marina pier at the Bali Hai cape in south Pattaya There is already a busy anchorage and service pier at the southern cape, but the new one takes marine facilities to a higher level, Mr Visnu explained.
Work on Pattaya's monorail project should start in the third or fourth quarter of this year and will take three years to complete at a cost of Bt6 to Bt8 billion. Pattaya will be the second city after Bangkok to have a modern mass transport system using overhead trains.
Pattaya monorail's route will run from Pattaya's City Hall, North Pattaya and connect with Pattaya Sai II road, the main thoroughfare, with stops near Big C Pattaya, Central Festival Mall in central Pattaya, before passing through South Pattaya. After skirting around Tedsaban Muang Pattaya 8th School, it will turn right to Pattaya Sai III road and turn right again to continue near the beach road to the Bali Hai marina pier. The total route will cover 6.5 km from end-to-end.
"Pattaya city will own the system," said Mr Visanu. "But we will open the management contract to private companies through a bid process to find the right company to run the line."
When asked for concession details, he said it was still three years away so there was time.
"Sure there are many companies from many nations showing an interest in this project but for now we have to wait for the bidding details to be approved by the city before we can provide more details," he added.
The new Marina Pier, will feature the latest technology in managing a mooring system for boats and parking spaces for cars. Work should start next month and take a year to complete.
According to Mr Visnu, the pier will help solving the lack of moorings for boat and parking spaces for cars.
The project will cost Bt735 million and once completed will be able to accommodate 370 speed boats and 400 cars.
He also added that the project will help improve safety levels for tourists boarding boats, while helping to solve environment issues. He did not elaborate on how that would be achieved, but he said a system to deal with oil spills from speedboat will end oil slicks on the surface of the sea at the southern end of the bay.
Other projects are planned to deal with environmental issues such as a project to turn Larn Island into a day trip reserve where overnight stays will not be allowed. The city will also study a fresh water pipeline to be built under the sea from the mainland to the island, a distance of around 8 km, to reduce the cost of transporting fresh water by boat.
The monorail project was first introduced by Pattaya City mayor, Itthiphol Khunploem, when he ran for election in 2008. According to the original plan the train system would improve the environment for tourism by reducing traffic congestion and helping to make transfers less troublesome for visitors who cannot speak Thai.
Pattaya welcomes around six million tourists a year, but has a resident population of just 107,538 people and 500,000 of non-residents who work there but are registered elsewhere in the country. When the tourist population is taken into account a mass transport system proposal becomes feasible for the city financially.
19 January 2011
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