Connect with us


Opinion: Travelling at light speed

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Sirigate Apirat is the project secretary of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTPP). He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ramkhamhaeng University and has been serving as an analyst at the OTPP since 1995.

Here he talks about the issues and benefits of the proposed light rail system on Phuket.

PHUKET: Phuket’s light rail system will be the first of its kind outside of the Greater Bangkok area.

During construction, there will certainly be some bottlenecks as far as traffic is concerned. However, we have already prepared plans to lessen or avoid potential traffic congestion as much as we can.

Some people are concerned about rumors that we will be using existing lanes to build the light rail, causing more traffic than necessary. However, there are no lane closures proposed at all.

The light rail system is set to be situated on medians. Nonetheless, in some areas it will be necessary for the rail to run alongside the road lanes.

For areas like Thalang, there is no need for concern where the light rail will run. Though it will have to cross lanes at some sections, we have very carefully decided at which locations it will do so, and will construct barriers and crossing arms to avoid accidents.

Recently we have been asked to reconsider the crossings and to build underpasses for vehicles, so as to avoid crossing accidents. We are currently revising plans on that front.

Nevertheless, in town I realize it will require careful management to avoid accidents during the initial phases, as Phuket is the first province to have public rail transportation that runs alongside traffic in Thailand.

However, it is not impossible to manage – many countries use this system already. It is also much more environmentally friendly.

The OTPP aims to provide locals and expats knowledge of the light rail’s benefits by holding a conference or community meeting, as well as to try and change the behavior of people on the roads.

We have researched tram technology in cities like Amsterdam where it has been successfully implemented. But, due to the large numbers of motorbikes in Phuket, which is not like many other cites abroad, we have to adapt the technology to the local environment.

For example, during the initial phases of light rail usage, there will be many barriers along the road to avoid accidents. However, locals could adapt the way that they travel to work, either by taking public transportation or by using alternate routes.

We eventually would like to see vehicles banned from parking along the roadside in some areas, such as the Heroines’ Monument and the proposed Koh Kaew Station, which is one of the most traffic-heavy areas along the route.

We also plan on building more parking spaces at places like the airport and Chalong Circle.

The reason we chose to build a light rail instead of something similar to the Bangkok Transit System is that Phuket is a holiday destination with scenery and old town heritage, and to have the public rail system highly visible would not be suitable for the island.

The OTPP is now awaiting the final plans of the new road crossings, after which we will submit all documents for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). We expect all of that to be done by April.

Once the EIA has been submitted, it will take about one year to be approved. Once this happens, construction can begin.

So we ask the people of Phuket to please be patient throughout the entire process, because in the end it will bring several advantages, such as a better quality of life and a cleaner environment for everyone.

— Sukawin Tanthavanich


Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Myanmar10 hours ago

Burmese military media outlets say ethnic army killed 25 workers

Thailand12 hours ago

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says drug suppression should to be a national priority

Thailand13 hours ago

Purchases of fancy street lamps being investigated for possible corruption

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand13 hours ago

Thailand News Today | BKK parks re-open… nearly, tropical storm, airport security upgrade | June 14

Thailand14 hours ago

Missing fisherman’s body found in sea off Nakhon Si Thammarat

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

CCSA: We’re out of vaccines

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Ayutthaya hospital to test all staff for Covid after 18 test positive

Thailand15 hours ago

13 teenagers arrested in Chon Buri for partying, gathering

Crime15 hours ago

Crime Suppression Division seizes dozens of illegal firearms in a series of raids

Crime16 hours ago

Marijuana valued at 10 million baht seized in Nakhon Phanom, 2 arrested

Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 3,355 new cases, provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

Almost 100% of teachers and staff vaccinated in Bangkok

Thailand17 hours ago

Almost 8 million register for stimulus scheme, app briefly goes down

Best of18 hours ago

Top 5 best temples in Bangkok

Thailand18 hours ago

Good Morning Thailand | What’s happening in Pattaya, Phuket sandbox, reopening for tourism

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8