The Metropolitan Rapid Transit or MRT is a rapid transit system serving the Bangkok Metropolitan Region in Thailand. The first section of the Blue Line between Hua Lamphong and Bang Sue opened in 2004 as Bangkok's second public transit system, while the MRT Purple Line opened in August 2016. The MRT is operated by the Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited (BEM) under a concession granted by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA). Along with the BTS Skytrain and the Airport Rail Link, the MRT is part of Bangkok's rail transportation infrastructure.

The MRT serves more than 410,000 passengers each day (Blue line 360,000 & Purple line 50,000). It has 35 operational stations along 43 kilometers (27 mi)[1]. The Blue Line, officially the Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line, was the first of the two lines currently in operation. From mid 2011, construction began of the Blue Line at both ends with an extension west from Hua Lamphong to Bang Khae, and from Bang Sue to Tha Phra . When completed, the Blue Line will become a fake loop line (providing interchange with itself at Tha Phra) around the centre of Bangkok. The MRT Purple Line, officially the Chalong Ratchadham Line, began full service on 6 August 2016 and connected Tao Poon with Nonthaburi in the northwest. It was the first public transit line to extend outside Bangkok province, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

The MRT line is officially known in Thai as rotfaifa mahanakhon (รถไฟฟ้ามหานคร) or "metropolitan electric train", but it is more commonly called rotfai taidin (รถไฟใต้ดิน), literally, "underground train".


The entrance to Huai Khwang MRT Station
Platform screen door at all stations
Inside of the train
Blue Line map
Purple Line map

The MRT was constructed under a concession concept. For the first MRT line, officially known as Chaloem Ratchamongkhon or informally as the "Blue Line", most civil infrastructure were provided by the government sector, Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), and handed over to their concessionaire under a 25-year concession agreement. Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited (BEM) was the only private sector company that won a bid in MRTA's concession contract for the blue line. As MRTA's concessionaire, BEM provides M&E equipment, including electrical trains, signalling systems, SCADA, communication, PSD, etc. for the subway project and fully operates the system. To maintain the system, BEM has subcontracted in 10 years to Siemens which was the M&E system supplier since system opening and 7 years maintenance contract to two local maintenance services for north and south line.

The construction of the first Bangkok Metro line, officially known as Chaloem Ratchamongkhon (Thai สายเฉลิมรัชมงคล) – "Celebration of Royal Auspice" – or informally as the "Blue Line", began on 19 November 1996. The project suffered multiple delays not only because of the 1997 economic crisis, but also due to challenging civil engineering works of constructing massive underground structures deep in the water-logged soil upon which the city is built.

The Blue Line was opened for a limited public trial period of several weeks starting on 13 April 2004. On 3 July 2004 the line was officially opened at 19:19 local time by HM King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, who were accompanied by other members of the royal family. Within 30 minutes of its opening, sightseers filled the system to its maximum capacity, but after the initial rush ridership has settled down to around 180,000 riders daily — considerably lower than projections of over 400,000, despite fares being slashed in half from 12-38 baht to 10-15 baht per trip. From 2006 until 2008, fares ranged between 14-36 baht per trip. The fare was raised to 16-41 Baht on 1 January 2009. Current daily ridership (2014) stands at about 253,000.[2]

In August 2016, the Purple Line opened for service. In August 2017, the Blue was belatedly extended to Tao Poon station allowing interchange with the Purple Lines.


Considering that Bangkok is a low-lying plain which is prone to flooding, all of the Metro's station entrances are raised about one metre above the ground level and are equipped with built-in floodgates in order to avoid water inundating the system. Lifts and ramps are found at all stations, providing easy access for passengers in wheelchairs. Stations have multiple passageways (generally four) which allow passengers to connect to any corner of the adjacent surface intersection. Passageways between exits are very spacious and some are beginning to open as malls. Maps depicting the local area and exit points are posted on the walls on the way out.

Due to safety considerations, platform screen doors are installed. Uniformed security personnel and security cameras are present at all platforms. Currently 19 three-car metro trains, of the Siemens Modular Metro type, are used. Each metro train consists of two motor cars and a centre trailer car.[3]


Round black token

The ticketing system uses RFID contactless technology with round tokens issued for single trips and a contactless stored value card, the MRT Plus card, for frequent travellers. It is planned that a joint ticketing system will be set up[4] so that passengers can use a single ticket on the MRT as well as on the Skytrain. Multi-storey park & ride facilities are provided at Lat Phrao and Thailand Cultural Centre. Motorists who park their cars at these premises will be issued with additional contactless smartcards and they need to have them electronically stamped at their destination station. The turnstiles accept cards or tokens, both available from a manned booth or automated ticket machines.

Smart cards are available in two types:

  • A rechargeable card for distance-based fares:
    • for adults, at the same rate as single fares
    • for students, not over 23 years old, at 10% discount
    • for children/elderly, not over 14 old and height between 91–120 cm, or not less than 60 old, each with 50% discount.

Children under 15 or whose height does not exceed 90 cm may ride for free. Reduced fares for older children and half price fares for the elderly also apply when buying a token at the booth.

Prohibited matter

The following items are prohibited in the station[citation needed].

  • Photography or shooting video
  • Smoking
  • Eating food and drink
  • Sitting on the floor
  • Littering
  • Bringing on board:
    • Large belongings
    • Balloons
    • Durians or Strong smelling food
    • Flammable goods
    • Animals(Except Service animals)


The first line, the Blue Line, opened on 3 July 2004. It runs eastward from Tao Poon Station in Bang Sue District along Kamphaeng Phet, Phahon Yothin and Lat Phrao Roads, then turns south following Ratchadaphisek Road, then west following Rama IV Road to Hua Lamphong Station in Pathum Wan District. The second line, the Purple Line opened on 6 August 2016. The 1.2km missing link of the Blue Line between Bang Sue and Tao Poon, connecting the two lines opened on 11 August 2017.

Line Stations Length [km] Length [mi] Terminus Daily ridership Began operation
Initial part Last extension
 MRT  Blue Line 19[5] 21 13[6] Hua LamphongTao Poon[5] 360,000[7] 2004 2017[5]
 MRT  Purple Line 16 23 14 Khlong Bang PhaiTao Poon 50,000[8] 2016 -
Total 35 45 28

Blue Line

The first line, 21 kilometer, 19 station Blue line[1] presently runs from Tao Poon to Hua Lamphong via Phra Ram 9 and has a carrying capacity of 40,000 people in each direction per hour. Similar to the Skytrain, the Metro uses trains supplied by Siemens which travel up to 80 km/h. Passengers can connect to the Skytrain at Si Lom, Sukhumvit and Chatuchak Park stations. The Blue line has a large depot located on the large MRTA Headquarters in Huai Khwang district and accessed via a spur line located between Phra Ram 9 and Thailand Cultural Centre stations.

A much delayed 27 kilometer extension to the Blue line finally began construction in mid-2012 and is due for completion by February 2020.

Purple Line

The Purple line is divided into two sections, the first 23 kilometer stage from Khlong Bang Phai - Tao Poon which opened on 6 August 2016, and a planned 19.8 kilometer southern extension from Tao Poon - Phra Pradaeng.

The Purple line currently serves travel demand between the northwestern suburbs of Bangkok in Nonthaburi Province to the mid north areas of Bangkok where it links with the Blue line. Eventually, the line will link with the southern area of Thonburi in Phra Pradaeng District, Samut Prakan Province with a southern extension. This extension will serve the new Thai parliament construction site at Kiak Kai intersection and will run along Samsen Road, then passing through the historic old quarter of Bangkok Rattanakosin Island and many historical places in Dusit and Phra Nakhon District like the national library, Thewet market, Bang Lamphu, the Democracy Monument, the Golden Mount, Phahurat near Chinatown. It then runs near the Memorial Bridge over the river to Wongwian Yai roundabout before continuing south to Chom Thong and ends in Rat Burana District.

If construction commences in 2018 the southern extension will open in 2023.

Expansion plans

Line Proposed opening Terminal Length [km] Length [mile] Stations Status
(Heavy rail)
2020 Bang Sue Tha Phra 13 8.1 7 Under construction
2019 Hua Lamphong Lak Song 14 8.7 10 Under construction
2021? Lak Song Phutthamonthon Sai 4 8 5.0 5 Planned
(Heavy rail)
2024 Tao Poon Rat Burana 23.6 14.7 17 Approved
(Heavy rail)
2023 (Eastern section) Thailand Cultural Centre Suwinthawong 21.2 13.2 17 Under construction
(Western extension) Bang Khun Non Thailand Cultural Centre 17.5 10.9 13 Approved
2022 Nonthaburi Civic Center Min Buri 34.5 21.4 30 Under construction
2022 Ratchada Samrong 30.5 19.0 23 Under construction
???? Nonthaburi Civic Center Lam Sali 22 14 20 Planned

The Blue line, once completely extended, will form a lariat-shaped loop encircling the city.

It is eventually planned that the combined route distance of all MRT lines covering major areas of Bangkok will be total of 171 km. This comprises 94 km for the 3 heavy rail lines and 77 km for the 3 monorail lines.

Blue Line extension

Blue Line extension under construction
  1. Bang SueBang PhlatTha Phra (under construction, operational in 2020). It starts from Bang Sue Station, passing along Pracharat Sai 2 Road. It crosses Chao Phraya River and turns left along Charansanitwong Road until it reaches Tha Phra at Petch Kasem and Charansanitwong intersection. The length is 13.1 km with 7 elevated stations.
  2. Hua LamphongTha PhraLak Song (under construction, operational in 2019). From Hua Lamphong Station it goes along Charoen Krung Road, passes Wat Mangkon Kamalawat Station, Wang Burapha Station, and then turns left at Wat Pho before crossing under the Chao Phraya River at Pak Khlong Talart. Passing through Issaraphap, it finally enters Petch Kasem Road and ends at Lak Song. The 4 underground stations end at Tha Phra before becoming elevated for 6 stations. The length is 13.9 km. with 8.9 km elevated station and 4.8 km underground stations.
  3. Lak Song to Phutthamonthon Sai 4 - 7.8km, 4 station elevated extension (approved by Cabinet and planned for tender in 2018).

Purple Line

The planned southern extension from Tao Pun - Rat Burana will run south through Bangkok's old quarter from Tao Pun junction on a viaduct. It then will go into an underground structure along Sam Sen Road, passing the new Thai parliament site, and transfers to the proposed Red inner-city shortcut commuter at Sanghi intersection. It passes the national library in Dusit District before it reaches Phra Nakhon District at Thewet Market.

The line turns east at Bang Lamphu and goes along the city moat to the south, with transfers possible to the MRT Orange Line at Ratchadamnoen Road near the Democracy Monument. It passes Golden Mount before possible transfers to the extension of the Blue Line at Wang Burapha near Yaowarat Road in Chinatown and the Phahurat textile market.

The line crosses the Chao Phraya River near the Memorial Bridge towards the Wongwian Yai roundabout in Thonburi on the west bank, with possible transfers to the Dark Red Line commuter and to Wongwian Yai. It continues south to Chom Thong, then on an elevated structure for 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) and ends in Rat Burana District, a short distance to the nearby Phra Pradaeng suburban town in Samut Prakan Province. The total length will be about 23.6 km, including ten underground and seven elevated stations.

The Cabinet was expected to approve the Purple Line Southern extension in mid 2017 with a tender due in the 2nd half of 2017. [9] On 25 July 2017, the Cabinet approved the 101 billion baht budget and tender for the extension.[10] However, the tender has been delayed until 2018.[11] If construction commences in the second half of 2018, the extension should open in 2024.

Orange Line

The area prepared for Orange Line platforms at Thailand Cultural Centre MRT Station, interchange with Blue Line

The Orange Line will start from Min Buri as elevated structure on Ramkhamhaeng Road (former Suka Phiban III Road) from eastern suburb in Min Buri District and goes underground near Lam Sali intersection in Bang Kapi District, also transfers to MRT Yellow Line. It continues southwest along Ramkhamhaeng Road, passing Hua Mak Stadium and Ramkhamhaeng University. Then it turns to the west and crosses Pradit Manutham Road to the current MRT depot. Then it goes to Thailand Cultural Centre Station, the alignment crosses over and transfers to the current MRT Blue Line. It continues via Din Daeng housing estates and Bangkok City Hall 2 to Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Sam Liam Din Daeng Junction. Then turn left into Ratchaprarop Road towards Pratunam and turn right into Phetchaburi Road then interchange with BTS Sukhumvit Line at Ratchathewi Station. It continues along Larn Luang Road and Ratchadamnoen Road. Then crosses the Chao Phraya River near Phra Pinklao Bridge, passes Siriraj Hospital and goes along Bangkok Noi Rail line and terminates at Bang Khun Non Station, interchanges with MRT Blue Line again. The total length is 37.5 km.

This Line is divided into 2 sections

The phase 1 Eastern section began construction in June 2017 with a planned October 2022 opening. The Phase 2 Western section extension from Thailand Cultural Centre to Bang Khun Non is expected to be tendered in 2018. When fully completed, the line will be 37.5-km long, mostly underground, with 29 stations (7 elevated stations and other 22 underground stations, including the current Thailand Cultural Centre Station of MRT Blue Line).

Pink Line

The 35.5 km long Pink line will have 30 stations and will be a monorail line. It will run in the northern part of the city from east Bangkok in Minburi District (also transfers to MRT Orange Line) along Ram Inthra Road to west Bangkok (Pak Kret district, Nonthaburi Province) Chaeng Watthana Road and Tiwanon Road ending at The Nonthaburi Civic Center which transfer to the MRT Purple Line.

The line will also transfer with the SRT Dark Red Line which is under construction, the planned BTS Sukhumvit Line extension to Lam Lukka, and the BMA Proposed MRT Grey Line in the future.

The Pink line was due to be tendered in the 3rd quarter of 2013 with construction due to commence in early 2014.[12] However, delays in preparation of the tender in relation to the selection of monorail rolling stock and subsequent political protests resulting in a snap national election in early Feb 2014, further delayed the Pink Line tender.[13] A subsequent coup in May 2014 resulted in a new military administration and the tender being deferred for 2014. The MRTA tender was subsequently not released until mid-2016.

In early December 2016, BSR Joint Venture (comprising BTS Group Holdings which owns 75%, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction - STEC, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generation Holding - RATCH), won the bid. The BSR also won the bid for the Yellow Line project. [14] On 16 June 2017, the Pink Line project contracts were signed with the BSR consortium by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand with a scheduled operational date of 2022. [15] Construction of the Pink Line began in late 2017 and the line is due to be operational in 2022.

The BSR has proposed a 2.8km spur monorail route to link to Impact, Muang Thong Thani from Si Rat station which is waiting for approval from the government.[16]

Yellow Line

The 30.4 km long Yellow line will have 23 stations. It was originally proposed to be an underground and elevated heavy rail line. However, it will now be built as an elevated monorail line.

In Dec 2011, the MRTA was instructed by the MOT to divide the Yellow Line into two Phases for tender and construction purposes and to control land appropriation costs.[17] In June 2012, the MRTA contracted consultants to undertake detailed designs of the Yellow Line. In Feb 2013, OTP stated that the tender for the Yellow line should be ready by late 2013 for tender in early 2014[18] However, similar to the Pink Line, delays in finalising the technical requirements of the tender in relation to the selection of monorail rolling stock which determines the type of track to be constructed resulted in a significant delay. The subsequent political turmoil of 2014 caused further delay. Thereafter, the coup of May 2014 resulted in a new military administration and the tender being deferred for 2014.

The MRTA tender was subsequently not released until mid-2016. In early December 2016, BSR Joint Venture (comprising BTS Group Holdings which owns 75%, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction - STEC, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generation Holding - RATCH), won the bid for the project. The BSR also won the bid the Pink Line project. [19] On June 16, 2017 a contract was signed for the Lat Phrao-Samrong section with the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand by a consortium including BTS Group Holdings, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generation Holding. Construction of the monorail is due to begin in late 2017 and due to operational in 2022.

Once the Yellow Line is complete, a future extension may eventually be built from Samrong across the Chao Praya River to link with the MRT Purple Line at Rat Burana.

Brown Line

The 20.5 km long Brown line is under study by the OTP. It is proposed to run from Khae Rai, Nonthaburi to Bueng Kum with 21 stations and be a monorail line.

The line was originally proposed as the Gold Line by the Pheu Thai party for the Bangkok Governors election held in March 2013. This was in response to objections by Kasetart University to long proposed Expressway extensions in the area. The line would essentially have replaced the need to build an elevated Expressway.[20] However, the Pheu Thai candidate did not win the Bangkok Governor election and the Gold Line was dropped with the Deputy Minister of Transport stating that land appropriation costs were too high.[21] Subsequently, OTP has reworked the Gold Line proposal into a new Brown Line following much the same route. As of June 2013, the route was under preliminary study by OTP.[22]Public hearings on the Brown line were held in 2017. The MOT announced that a 14-month feasibility study into the line would be completed in 2018.[23]

This line should not be confused with the original 2004 13 km MRT Brown Line proposal from Bang Kapi to Min Buri. This was subsequently merged in 2009 into an extended MRT Orange Line.

Major accident record

On 17 January 2005, just after 09:15, an empty train returning to the depot collided with a peak-hour train filled with passengers at the Thailand Cultural Centre MRT Station. 140 people were hurt, most of whom sustained only minor injuries and the entire Metro network was shut down for two weeks.

After initial investigations, it was found that the empty train had run into problems shortly before the accident, grinding to a halt on a curve leading to the depot. The driver applied the train brake and was waiting to be towed to the maintenance centre close to the Thailand Cultural Centre station.

A rescue train was attempting to connect to the stalled train when the driver was told to release the brake even though coupling had not been successful. It was then that the empty train began to roll backwards at a speed of ten metres per second and into the other train, which was carrying passengers. Therefore, it was believed that the incident was caused by negligence due to insufficient training of operation staff.[24] This accident caused damage to both trainsets, with heavily damaged areas limited to the two cars that collided. From the extent of the damage, investigators estimated the collision speed to be around 60 km/h. However, one train, which was rebuilt from the repair of the minor-damaged cars, was already fitted for operation at the end of 2006 and the remaining one was still under heavy repair until mid of 2007; it was released into service in October, 2007. The cost resulting from the accident might be a much higher figure than BMCL quoted, and it was expected to be at least 400 million baht, which was totally insured by a local insurance company.

The Metro resumed full operation on 1 February 2005, and passenger numbers soon rose back to pre-crash levels, partly due to a temporary promotional fare scheme which allowed passengers to travel any distance on the MRT for only ten baht (~0.33 USD).


The first few years of operations saw less than forecast ridership, but pax numbers grew gradually over time. After the opening of the Tao Poon interchange station between Blue Line and Purple Line in mid-August 2017, ridership immediately increased especially on the Purple Line. In September 2017, BEM stated that average daily ridership of the Blue Line had increased from 340,000 to 360,000 after the opening. The Purple line ridership significantly increased from 33,000 to nearly 50,000. [25]

Annual Ridership Statistics (all lines) [26]

Year Total Ridership Average Daily Ridership
2011 69,024,000 189,083
2012 80,575,000 220,167
2013 86,427,000 236,833
2014 92,403,000 253,417
2015 95,044,000 260,500
2016 100,106,000 273,583
2017 (Jan - Apr) 34,422,000 287,000

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "M.R.T. Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line". Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA). Archived from the original on 2014-05-16. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  2. ^ a b "Bangkok Metro Public Corporation Annual Report 2014" (PDF). 2015. p. 6. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2015-10-01. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  3. ^ "Bangkok Metro, Thailand". Railway-Technology.com. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  4. ^ "Single ticket for city transport". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2016-09-11. 
  5. ^ a b c "ส.ค.เชื่อมแน่รถไฟฟ้าฟันหลอ "เตาปูน-บางซื่อ" รฟม.แนะวิธีใช้บริการ". 
  6. ^ M.R.T. Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand. 2014
  7. ^ "BEM to buy 35 more Blue Line trains". Bangkok Post. Bangkok. 15 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "Purple Line use up 47% since 'missing link' completed". Bangkok Post. Bangkok. 8 September 2017. 
  9. ^ http://www.bangkokpost.com/archive/b358bn-rail-projects-expected-to-go-ahead/1256406. Bangkok Post, 26 May 2017
  10. ^ http://www.manager.co.th/Business/ViewNews.aspx?NewsID=9600000075739
  11. ^ https://www.bangkokpost.com/archive/purple-line-south-link-bid-faces-delay/1357647. Bangkok Post, 10 Nov 2017
  12. ^ "Cabinet to mull rail projects" Bangkok Post, 26 Feb 2013
  13. ^ ""Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-16. Retrieved 2014-07-18. "
  14. ^ "BSR Joint venture wins rights for Bangkok's Yellow, Pink line MRTA construction". Bangkok Post. 7 December 2016. 
  15. ^ "Pink and Yellow Lines construction contracts signed, operational in 2020". Thai PBS. 17 June 2017. 
  16. ^ "Junta to call bids for most infra projects - The Nation". The Nation. Retrieved 2017-06-17. 
  17. ^ แจ้งเกิดรถไฟฟ้า2สาย สุกำพลเครื่องร้อน. ThanOnline (in Thai). 27 December 2011. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  18. ^ สนข.เร่งสร้างรถไฟฟ้า ฟุ้งปี56ได้ใช้ตั๋วร่วมแน่. Thaipost (in Thai). 11 February 2013. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  19. ^ "BSR Joint venture wins rights for Bangkok's Yellow, Pink line MRTA construction". Bangkok Post. 7 December 2016. 
  20. ^ "Kasetsart backs light rail move". Bangkok Post. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  21. ^ "City expressway plan redrawn to go north". Bangkok Post. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  22. ^ https://www.facebook.com/kucityfanpage/posts/381668901937571
  23. ^ "Govt mulls Brown Line feeder route to connect rail network". Bangkok Post. 27 July 2017. 
  24. ^ "Thai subway shut for safety probe". BBC News. 17 January 2005. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  25. ^ "Purple Line use up 47% since 'missing link' completed". Bangkok Post. Bangkok. 8 September 2017. 
  26. ^ Shareinvestor. "Investor Relations". investor.bemplc.co.th. Retrieved 2017-05-31. 

External links

Official sites

Unofficial sites