Road Death Tolls Climb As Songkran Ends

Crowds at Bangkok-bound bus station in Nakhon Ratchasima province, 15 April 2014

(15 April) Commuters are heading back to Bangkok on the last day of Songkran holiday season, while the total road accident fatalities throughout the festive week currently stand at 204.

According to the police, at least 2,027 accidents have been reported across the country since the beginning of Songkran (traditional Thai New Year) last week, resulting in 204 deaths and 2,142 injuries as of Tuesday night.

The death toll is expected to rise in the coming days – a far cry from the "Songkran Zero Death" campaign launched by the authorities prior to the holidays.

Although roads in many areas of Bangkok remain largely empty, major highways connecting the capital city and the upcountry are increasingly clogged today, with thousands of commuters returning to work after a nearly week-long holiday season in their hometowns or other tourist destinations.

The situation is particularly severe at Hat Yai Train Station in Songkhla province, where crowds of passengers flooded the platforms to catch the trains to Bangkok, some of which are free of charge.

Our correspondent says the passengers need to queue up for at least one hour before a train departs in order to secure their seats. Each train has a maximum of 50 seats, forcing the rest of the passengers to stand on their hours-long journey to Bangkok.

 Police officers and soldiers were seen patrolling the rail station as an effort to deter any terror attacks from Islamist separatists thought to be active in Songkhla province.  

Meanwhile, major water fight venues in Bangkok such as Silom and Khaosarn Road continue to welcome massive number of tourists on the last day of the Songkran festival. 

 

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