News: Bangkok bus boosts Thai property

Tue, 04 Sep 07

Bangkok's new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is expected to boost property prices along its route, according to the research team at leading property consultants CB Richard Ellis http://www.cbre.co.th...

The BRT is a bus system. The buses will mainly travel on exclusive lanes with no other traffic; however, the buses will share lanes with other vehicles in some parts of the route. The buses are also designed with a GPS system that will give them priority at traffic lights. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will buy specially designed buses with a maximum capacity to carry 80-140 people per ride and the buses will depart every 5-10 minutes.

The first BRT route will start at the Chong Nonsi BTS station, run along Narathiwas-Ratchanakarin Road, to Rama III Road, across Rama III Bridge onto Ratchadapisek Road, and end at the Ratchada station of the extended BTS route to Thonburi.

Prices rising ‘substantially’

The BRT project was proposed by Bangkok Governor Apirak Gosayothin in 2004, but it was only in January 2007 that the project was actually started. The project is expected to be ready for public use by the end of the first quarter of 2008.

The majority of buildings along the route are residential. There are currently about 14,000 to 15,000 completed condominium units along Narathiwas-Ratchanakarin and Rama III Roads. Some 5,900 condominium units are under construction. These projects are expected to be completed in 2007-2009, effectively raising the total condominium stock in the area to over 20,000 units in the next two years.

Land prices along established mass transit routes such as the BTS and MRT have risen substantially as people switch to using the mass transit system.

"The magnitude of the impact that the BRT will have on the property development in the areas along Narathiwas-Ratchanakarin and Rama III depends on the quality of BRT service. Some of the key factors to the success of the BRT system are the reliability and frequency of the buses.

If the BRT proves to be a success story, the areas along Rama III and Narathiwas-Ratchanakarin Roads will be another location that both property developers and home buyers have to keep an eye on," said Mr. Navaphol Viriyakunkit, a Research Manager at CB Richard Ellis.

Critical factor

Transportation infrastructure such as mass transit systems always have a major impact on property development in metropolitan centers around the globe. In Bangkok, the BTS and MRT systems have gradually changed the way city dwellers in Bangkok live and commute. The change in lifestyle of people living in the capital has continued to affect property development in many ways.

Condominiums along mass transit lines have recently become popular among city dwellers who sacrifice larger space for closer proximity to the city. Access to a BTS or MRT station has become a critical factor in determining the success of retail and commercial developments.

Existing residents along the proposed route will look forward to the opening of the BRT route which if successful, will not only improve accessibility and reduce commute times, but also add to the attractiveness and value of properties along the route.

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