ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Mass transit services strengthened for Bangkok's anticipated paralysis
BANGKOK, Jan 9 – The MRT underground train in Bangkok will boost its service frequency to cope with an expected passenger increase of 50 per cent on Monday when major streets will be blocked by anti-government demonstrators.
Ronnachit Yaemsa-ard, deputy governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), said at least 300,000 commuters are expected to use the MRT on Monday, a sharp rise from its average 200,000 passengers per day.
The MRTA will extend the operating hours from midnight to 2 am if there are a large number of passengers during the after midnight hours, he said.
He said the MRTA has asked the State Railway of Thailand to open its maintenance centre as a passenger service centre.
The BTS Skytrain and the Airport Link are being coordinated at the SRT parking area while the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, the city’s bus service agency, was requested to provide 15 buses to run to the MRT stations at the Thailand Cultural Centre and Rama 9 Road, he said.
Mr Ronnachit said the MRTA has sought the military's assistance in providing security at areas adjacent to major elevated and underground train stations including Silom, Paholyothin and Sukhumvit.
Two crowd-control police companies from the northern province of Chiang Rai have arrived Bangkok to maintain public order on Monday when the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) will lead a seizure of the capital to pressure the caretaker government to resign.
In the southern province of Songkhla, many retailers have made extra orders for goods from Bangkok to ensure sufficient supply to their customers in case the capital is paralysed and transportation severely affected from Monday.
Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police Commander Kamronvit Thoopkrachang, a staunch opponent of the PDRC, flatly ruled out a report that he would resign from police service.
He said he met with National Police Chief Adul Saengsingkaew yesterday to discuss preparations and security measures for Monday’s ‘Bangkok shutdown,’ not to submit his resignation as rumoured.
Pol Lt Gen Kamronwit has been on bitter terms with protesters as he has dealt harshly with them since they launched the anti-government movement.
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