The public meeting was held at the Phuket Royal City Hotel in Phuket Town, attended by Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) Assistant Governor Sarot Torsuwan and Phuket Vice Governor Wongsakorn Nunchukan.
Mr Sarot explained that the meeting aimed to explain the project to the public and to receive feedback from local officials and residents, which will be used to support the project in the future, said a report by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department of Thailand (PR Phuket).
“We expect to present people’s opinions and our research about this project to the Cabinet in the middle of next year, and open bids for the private sector to join the project investment in 2022, in order that the project can be started in 2023 and be ready to use in 2026,” Mr Sarot explained, said the PR Phuket report..
The project, which is now being described as “LRT/Tram”, remains divided into two phases, the meeting was told yesterday.
As repeated for years, Phase 1, from Phuket International Airport to Chalong Circle, will be around 42 kilometres long. Along the route will be 21 stations, including one underground station and one elevated station.
At the meeting yesterday, many people called for more stations to be added along Thepkrasattri Rd, and to provide discounted fares to local residents to encourage them to use the rail service. Fares are currently expected to start at B35 and range up to a maximum of B140.
People at the meeting yesterday also called for spaces to be made available for tourists’ luggage, and to publish periodic updates on the progress of the project.
Public feedback has already resulted in one change in the plans, the Bangkok Post reported.
As the “LRT/Tram” makes its way from Saphan Hin to Chao Fa West Rd, instead of travelling along Sakdidet Rd as previously planned, the now-revised route will cross the Thepsrisin Bridge instead.
Phase 1 will cost B35 billion, it was repeated yesterday. The MRTA website features a breakdown of the investment required as follows: Land Acquisition – B1.499bn; Civil Works – B24.774bn; M&E and System Works – B3,514bn; Rolling Stock – B2,921bn; Project Management and Construction; Supervision – B1,065bn; Provisional Sum – B1.428bn; Total – B35,201bn.
According to previous reports, the project will be developed under the PPP Net Cost scheme, whereby the private sector shoulders investment costs and risks in addition to the government’s B27bn investment, and shares revenue with the government under a 28-year concession contract covering three years of construction and 25 years of operation.
From the study, the project will give an economic internal rate of return (EIRR) of around 13.11%, the meeting was told yesterday.
Phase 2 will be around 16.5km long, from Baan Tha Noon in Phang Nga to Baan Muang Mai in Thalang, the PR Phuket report noted. The route is to comprise three stations.
However, MRTA’s Project Development Department Director, Gardphajon Udomdhammabhakdi confirmed to The Phuket News last year that the budget for only Phase 1 of the project at that time stood at B34.8bn.
“Actually, we don’t know how much Phase 2 will cost,” Mr Gardphajon said.
Phase 2 is aimed at providing a rail link from Phuket to connect with a railway line being developed across Phang Nga from Surat Thani.
Meanwhile, the news that the MRTA is to present the revised plans to Cabinet later this year will see the project delayed at least another two years.
In 2015 the project was touted to be completed by next year, and as recently as December last year the MRTA announced that bids for the project were to open mid-2020, with the project expected to be completed by 2024.