Bangkok improves public transport systems

public transport systems

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is launching electric water taxis along canals and its own app for hailing motorbike taxis anywhere in the capital city.

Bangkok’s Krung Thep Thanakom (KT), the commercial arm of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, has announced the imminent launch of an on-demand electric water taxi service developed by the administration.

The on-demand water taxi service is expected to go live in July, around the same time the Metropolitan Administration plans to launch its own app-based motorbike taxi service across the city.

The water taxi service, designed to link Bangkok’s canals with Bangkok’s electric railways, public buses and motorbike taxis, aims primarily to support the city’s tourism development.

KT managing director Taratporn Techakitkachorn said the pilot phase will start next month on the Klong Padung Krung Kasem canal and some canal branches, including Klong Bang Lampa.

When the city’s service is fully operational, electric water taxis will be available on several of the city’s main canals, such as Klong Lat Prao, Taratporn said. Passengers can hail the on-demand boat taxi using a specially designed app, with fees based on distance.

KT is currently in talks with electric boat manufacturers regarding the appearance and prices of the boats and intends to purchase vessels with a capacity of six to ten seats. Two prototype boats will be used for a trial service in July.

The city government’s motorbike taxi-hailing app is being pilot-tested in four Bangkok districts. Taratporn said about 5,000 registered motorbike taxis and 90,000 individually licensed drivers are expected to connect to the hailing system when the citywide service begins in July. Passengers can hail a motorbike taxi with just a few taps on their smartphone screen.

Currently, most motorbike taxi services are only available on some app-based delivery service platforms. The city government’s calling app will be dedicated exclusively to motorbike taxi services, covering most of Bangkok’s neighbourhoods. KT will regulate the fares for the rides fairly.

Curious facts:

Water transport and canals play an important role in Bangkok's transport system. The city is often called the "Venice of the East" because of its extensive canal network.

Electrification of water transport helps reduce air and water pollution in Bangkok and makes travelling along the canals quieter and more comfortable for passengers.

Motorbike taxis are a popular mode of transport in Bangkok, especially for short journeys and travelling through narrow streets. However, until now, there has been no single app for hailing a motorbike taxi covering the entire city.

The launch of electric water taxis and the expansion of motorbike taxi calling services through the app are part of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s efforts to modernise and improve the public transport system. The initiatives are designed to make travelling around the city more convenient, environmentally friendly and geared towards the needs of residents and tourists.

Integrating different modes of transport, such as electric water taxis, motorbike taxis and existing rail and bus systems, will allow passengers to easily plan routes and transfer from one mode of transport to another. This is especially important for tourists unfamiliar with the city and its transport system.

Using electric boats and regulating motorbike taxi fares also demonstrate Bangkok’s commitment to sustainable development and fair pricing in public transport. These measures can serve as a model for other major Southeast Asian cities facing similar transport and environmental challenges.

Bangkok residents and visitors eagerly await the launch of new services that promise to make travelling around the city more comfortable, faster and greener. The success of these initiatives could lead to further innovations and improvements in the Thai capital’s public transport system.

Canal in Bangkok at the sunset – Thailand

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