Transit Authority to Look Into BTS Wheelchair Ramp to Nowhere

Photos: Ahmel Al-Sharif / Facebook
Photos: Ahmel Al-Sharif / Facebook

SAMUT PRAKAN — Less than two weeks after a slew of new BTS stations opened in southeast metro Bangkok, netizens pointed a glaring oversight at one of them – an inaccessible wheelchair access ramp.

The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand said Wednesday it would investigate why a ramp connects an elevator at the new BTS Sai Luat’s No. exit 2 to absolutely nothing Wednesday, drawing ridicule online.

“We designed stations on the Bearing-Samut Prakan line by adhering to universal design principles which allow every group of people, especially the disabled and elderly, to access the trains,” the authority said in a statement.

It said local district authorities would be contacted to determine the boundaries of the public sidewalk and the ramp before “extending the sidewalk.”

The ramp leads down from a elevator, switches back and leads down to a weed- and rubbish-strewn offset beside a fence.

The ramp first drew infamy online with photos posted Saturday to a group that calls out Bangkok’s often navigability-challenged footpaths. A fan page was soon created specifically for the BTS Sai Luat elevator.

“Saturday night, I was out long-distance biking when I passed BTS Sai Luat and stopped in my tracks,” the photographer, Facebooker Ahmel Al-Sharif, wrote Monday. “The station’s design might be correct in terms of international standards, but you also need to investigate to see that your construction works with the environment around it. How could you finish construction like this?”

The BTS Skytrain extension to BTS Kheha in Samut Prakan opened Dec. 6, and is free until April 15.

The BTS has notoriously failed to accommodate disabled commuters for years. In May, City Hall approved 256 million baht to install additional elevators, over four years after the Supreme Court ruled all Skytrain stations must be fully accessible. Its failure to do so is the subject of several lawsuits.

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