To manage congestion, Bangkok’s major subway might go seatless

Many commuters said long queues and passenger crunch could be solved by adding more trains instead. Source: Shutterstock

At times, Bangkok bustling streets can make a daunting task out of getting from one end of the city to other, which is why nearly half a million tourists and commuters choose its intricate web of subways to traverse in comfort.

But on Monday morning, many users of the city’s MRT Blue line woke up to a surprise when they noticed that the seats were missing from some of the trains.

A local news report humorously pointed out the missing seats were not part of a grand theft, but rather the result of an “experiment” to reduce congestion.

According to Khaosod English, the subway system’s operator on Monday took to Twitter to make the announcement on the matter.

“We’d like to ask cooperation from passengers to move inside so that other passengers can journey together,” the BEM and Metro Co. Ltd. tweeted.

The operator, however, did not mention the duration of the experiment.

The effort comes as the city of 8.1 million residents grapples with the increased ridership of its public transport systems, especially during rush hours.

While the removal of train seats could address the shortage of space in some carriages, many commuters voiced their displeasure, saying long queues and passenger crunch could be solved by adding more trains instead.

“Why didn’t they just add more trains? They still charge full fares. They already cancelled their monthly card, and now they’ve removed seats, too,” Twitter user @Ssummersnoww was quoted as saying.

“Isn’t it better to increase train frequency during rush hours rather than remove the seats?” user @_andxJ wrote, as highlighted by Khaosod.

Other users reasoned that it could take up to years for the operators to buy the trains.

“You can’t simply conjure up trains whenever you wish it. They have to order and assemble trains,” @Nuttyi tweeted.

The MRT’s operator had earlier said the company was planning to add more trains by 2019. But in the meantime, seatless carriages might remain in Bangkok’s subways.