23 November 2020
I have been invited by the Traffic and Transportation Department, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration(BMA) to join their test of an electric-boat service on Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem, on behalf of Accessibility is Freedom and Transportation for All member (T4A). Here is what we found from this first and quick survey:1. Accessibility to pier
Some issues regarding accessing the pier need to be attended to such as travelling from the bus stop to the pier and no ramps on footpaths. >>Cooperation with local agencies for a complete accessibility is recommended.
2. Ramp to pier
There are ramps at both Hua Lamphong Pier and Devaraj Pier.
3. From footpath down to pier
Wheelchairs need to be lifted as there are only stairs. This is dangerous. >>We recommend building a ramp along one side of the pier. This is possible as there is ample space available.
4. The Pier
The pier is approx. 4×10 metres and is built on concrete posts.
5. Pontoon access gangway
The pontoon is up to standard, with a decent size of approx. 4×7.5 metres and a non-slippery flooring. The slope of the gangway varies according to the movement of the pontoon which is set off by waves. Wheelchair users need to be assisted as a general rule of safety when boarding a pontoon and a boat.
6. Embarking/ Disembarking
There is a height difference of one foot between the pontoon and the boat. Folding ramps are provided. >>We propose future designs to allow an even access into and out of the boat.
7. Hydraulic lift on boat
The hand pump lift transfers a wheelchair to the seating area. The raising of the platform was not smooth, compared to when lowering it. >>We recommend adjusting the facility for a smoother upward movement.
8. Wheelchair accommodation on board
There is room for only one wheelchair which will then be restricted to a confined space. >>We recommend using foldable seats for the last two rows to free up space to accommodate more than one wheelchair. This will also allow more room for passenger flow on board.
9. Traffic control
Traffic signals at the canal intersection will improve safety and efficiency.
The canal is connected to Chao Phraya River. Constant clean-ups of Bangkok’s waterways will benefit the boat service as much as other schemes in the city.
This electric boat service is well designed; it is wonderful to travel with. The distance of 4.5 kilometres from Hua Lamphong to Devaraj was covered within a short time. Besides it is environmentally friendly. Our recommendations above are aimed at maximizing this part of the travel experience in Bangkok, making it a wow factor for both Thai and international visitors. Our common goal is ‘to make public transportation network convenient and safe for everyone’.
Let’s join hands in improving transport accessibility for all.
A big thank you to the Traffic and Transportation Department, Krungthep Thanakom and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.