Pattaya City reveals monorail ambitions (Thailand)
A project that has been proposed for around a decade took a step forward this week as the Pattaya City government announced that it has conducted a feasibility study to look into the financial benefits of creating a new transport system to link the city with the upcoming Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) high speed rail. After also considering the development of an at-grade (ground level) or underground network, the study concluded that an elevated monorail system is the most cost effective option.
During a press briefing, Pattaya’s Deputy Mayor Manote Nongyai claimed that the 9km electric monorail would run from the Pattaya railway to North Pattaya Road, Second Road, the retail and entertainment areas, and then along to Bali Hai pier.
Creating an above-ground network with 1.8m-wide structures would minimise the impact on road traffic during construction, but there has still been some criticism from store owners that believe the system could take away their passing trade, as well as bus and taxi drivers that fear a drop in income. In general though, the project has support, and is anticipated to be developed in conjunction with the EEC network.
Pattaya has grown over recent years, due mainly to tourism. It now has around 320,000 inhabitants, and the Pattaya-Chonburi metropolitan area is home to around a million locals. Around 100km (60 miles) southeast of Bangkok, Pattaya City also sits at the heart of Thailand’s EEC project. The government is also working on increasing the capacity of the nearby Laem Chabang port and the U-Tapao–Rayong–Pattaya International Airport will be developed into an aero city, all as part of the EEC development.