Phuket’s $1.2bn tram PPP heading for international tender next year

The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) is to seek bidders for a $1.2bn tram system for the resort island of Phuket next year, according to its governor.

Pakapong Sirikantaramas said an international competition for the 42km system would probably be launched in the middle of next year, once the MRTA’s board has agreed an amended  design for the system, and once it is approved by the Thai government, the Bangkok Post reports.

Changes to the original plans, formulated in 2014, include the addition of tunnels and elevated sections to avoid increasing traffic congestion. The changes are expected to add about 10% to the cost of the scheme.

The project, which will take the form of a public-private partnership, will connect Phuket International Airport in the north of the island to the main tourist destinations of Chalong in the southeast and Patong in the southwest (pictured).

Once completed, the line is expected to move 70,000 passengers a day. Revenue from tickets will be shared between the government and the concessionaire for 25 years following completion of the line in 2023.

Work on the scheme was reportedly speeded up after an intervention by Prime Minister Prayut Chanocha, who visited the island the March and stressed the importance of making the bidding for the system as universal as possible.

Image: The tram system will connect the airport with Patong beach (Rene Ehrhardt/CC BY 2.0)

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  1. A time frame of only 3 years (2020 – 2023) seems exceedingly optimistic to me. The last time such a schedule was attempted and achieved was 1985 – 1988 for TunMun LRT in Hong Kong, and that LRT had a previously constructed “right of way” on which to build the LRT.

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