Friday, June 20, 2008

[Purposed] Sky Train, Phnom Penh

Source : Xinhua

HNOM PENH, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- A Phnom Penh Municipal official has expressed doubt in the viability of plans announced by the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) to build electric sky train networks over the city's increasingly car-jammed boulevards, while others have welcomed the proposal, local media reported on Monday.

May Vuthy, BTS representative for Cambodia, told Khmer-language magazine the Star, that his company plans to invest 500 million U.S. dollars in building two sky train lines in the capital, with construction expected to begin as early as next year.

A seven-kilometer stretch will link the Japanese-Cambodia Friendship bridge to Monivong bridge, while another eight-kilometer route would connect Psah Thmei (New Market) to Stung Meanchey's Center of Garment, said Ma Vuthy.

Construction is expected to take just four years, said Vuthy, adding that the lines will run from 06:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and each ride would cost around a U.S. dollar.

Deputy Governor Chreang Sophan told the magazine that the sky train could both reduce traffic congestion and attract tourists.

However, Pa Socheatvong, also a deputy governor, told English-language newspaper the Cambodia Daily that BTS officials met with municipal authorities to discuss the plan last month, but that he felt the plan was too ahead of its time.

"It is still in the imagination," he said.

Chaturont Chaiyakam, first secretary at the Thai Embassy, told the newspaper that Phnom Penh needs the development if it wants to avoid traffic gridlock in the future.

"Phnom Penh needs a mass transit system to cope with its expanding city," he said.

The elevated train service in Bangkok was completed by BTS in 1999 with 23 stations sitting astride two lines with a combined distance of 23-kilometers.

Plans by the Japan International Cooperation Agency to improve public transport in Phnom Penh in 2001 resulted in an abortive effort to introduce 20 60-seat buses with one-way fares across the city of 0.12 U.S. dollar. But the service was closed down after just two months.



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