As I promised yesterday, here’s an image of why Bangkok, Thailand needs great public trans – portation. Traffic. Never ending traffic and traffic jams.
Here’s a true story. I have some friends in the city who like to have dinner with me about once a week when I’m in town. They are a bit upwardly mobile so they own a couple of cars of which they are proud. They always offer to come to my lodging, pick me up and drive me to the restaurant wherever it may be located in the city. Typically, they like to take me to a steak and rib place near the Siam Paragon ultra modern shopping mall. Why steak and ribs? I don’t know. I guess they think that’s what I eat. But, I generally eat local food and I’m not a big red meat eater. But, giving “face” as important as the notion of “saving face.” So, I’m always appreciative.
That said, in excellent traffic, the ride from my lodging to the Silom-Siam area takes around 45 minutes. However, traffic around a normal dinner time adds another 30 minutes to that ride for a total of an hour and fifteen minutes. Arrrrgh. Or, I can take a leisurely five minute stroll from my lodging to the nearest BTS station, hop on a train and be to the general area of the restaurant in 12 minutes. Then, another leisurely stroll of less the five minutes and I’m at the restaurant, which by the way, is called The Great American Rib Place. The last time that we had dinner, I sort of stretched the truth, gave them an excuse and said I would meet my friends at the restaurant. I had a bit of a wait. Like anything to do with traffic, the time was unpredictable and they were a little late. Hmmm.
The bad news? Well, the BTS uses a system of columns to support the train, tracks and stations. You see them on the far left of the picture. And, there are flyovers from the sides of the streets that allow people to get to the stations which are in the center of the street. The combination of those structures can darken the street. On the other hand, Bangkok can get pretty hot during the day and they do offer a measure of shade.