The Failure of Mass Transit Operated by Chiang Mai Municipality

Well-managed mass transit and communication systems are very important driving forces for urban development. Not only do they help mobilizing people, goods and services, but good systems are also able to help lessening the magnitude of traffic problems and the costs of traveling for people in big cities.

Chiang Mai City is considered to be the second largest city of Thailand next to Bangkok. With the number of population in the city and its vicinity of around 400,000 people, including visitors, whether they are tourists, businessmen and students who come and stay in the area, good transportation services were expected to sufficiently facilitate their traveling.

Surprisingly, the services of mass transit within and nearby the City, so far have been unsuccessfully operated. This paper is an attempt to investigate the factors both of the server’s side and of the user’s side that have influence upon the operation.

Needed data were collected through the reviewing of related documents as well as interviewing of the local people. The collected data were then analyzed by means of content analysis. The findings can be summarized as follows. On the server’s side, the Municipality, the factors that induced the failure are:
1) the number of buses in service is still not enough when the number of population in the area is taken into consideration;
2) irregularity of the time schedules;
3) service routes are considered to be inappropriate;
4) a strong competition from locally operated means of transportation. On the user’s side, the induced factors are found to be:
1) behavior of the local people that tend to have less traveling;
2) local people tend to patronage the traditional means of transportation (red four-wheel car);
3) no big businesses in the City.

The suggestions to improve the services of the mass transit in Chiang Mai City are as follows:
1) Municipality should invest more money buying the buses;
2) service schedules must be regulated;
3) improvement of public relation;
4) mass transit should be made more compatible by controlling the other means of transportation.

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