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2019/2020 year-end updates for ExploreMetro maps

As usual, many of the metro systems around Asia are opening new lines and extensions in the last few days of the year. I’m working hard to get the different maps updated as soon as possible, please bear with me as ExploreMetro is a one-person operation, and I have a newborn baby to look after 🙂 Apple also shut down the submission of new apps over Christmas, so there’s a backlog to get new apps approved.

Here’s a summary of the lines and extensions already open during December 2019/January 2020 and the current status on the ExploreMetro apps. If you think I missed anything, please shoot me an email to support@exploremetro.com

Updated now on all platforms:

  • Bangkok – 04 Dec 2019 – Sukhumvit Line, Ha Yaek Lat Phrao – Kasetsart University MAPS UPDATED on web, iOS and Android!
  • Bangkok – 04 Dec 2019 – Blue Line, Tao Poon – Sirindhorn MAPS UPDATED on web, iOS and Android!
  • Shenzhen – 08 Dec 2019 – Line 9, Hongshuwan South – Qianwan MAPS UPDATED on web, iOS and Android!
  • Guangzhou 20 Dec 2019 – Line 21, Yuancun – Zhenlongxi MAPS UPDATED on web, iOS and Android
  • Bangkok – 23 Dec 2019 – Blue Line, Sirindhorn – Tha Phra MAPS UPDATED on web and iOS and Android
  • Beijing – 28-30 Dec 2019, Line 7, Jiaohuachang – Huazhuang + Shuangjing and Batong Line, Tuqiao – Huazhuang, Line 13 Qinghe station MAPS UPDATED on web, iOS and Android!
  • Guangzhou – 28 Dec 2019, Line 8, Fenghuang Xincun – Cultural Park MAPS UPDATED on web, iOS and Android!

Expected to open soon:

  • Singapore – Thomson–East Coast Line, Woodlands North – Woodlands South

Should Bangkok subsidise public transport costs?

The idea of a flat fare for Bangkok public transport has recently resurfaced. Since the operation of the BTS and MRT is contracted out to private companies (BTS Group, and Bangkok Expressway and Metro PCL respectively), this would likely only be possible if the government agreed to subsidize the private operators for the loss of farebox revenue.

Let’s do some back of the envelope calculations on how much this would cost based on publically available information from the BTS and MRT.

The BTS Skytrain carries around 240 million trips per year, with farebox revenue of THB 7 billion, an average fare of fare THB 29 per trip.

The MRT carries around 115 million trips per year, with farebox revenue of about THB 3 billion and an average fare of about THB 25.

If there was a flat fare of 15 baht, and the government to fully reimburse the private operators for the cost of each trip, then each journey would need to be subsidised by about 14 baht on the BTS and 10 baht on the MRT, a total subsidy of about 4.5 billion baht. About 75% of the subsidy would be for the BTS, due to higher ridership and higher fares.

However this assumes that lower fares would have no effect on ridership numbers. In practice, we could realistically assume a 10-20% increase in ridership after a fare cut, bringing the subsidy above 5 billion per annum. The opening of future lines like the Yellow and Pink lines will further increase ridership.

How could the cost of the subsidy be limited? There are two obvious ways. First it’s likely the government could agree a lower subsidy per ride in exchange for the future increase of passenger numbers. Second, the flat fare could be slightly higher. A flat fare of 20 baht instead of 15 baht would only require a subsidy of 2.7 billion baht instead of 4.5 billion baht.

Is this worth it? The pros and cons of subsidised public transportation have been debated at length. It’s clear that Bangkok suffers from heavy negative externalities from excessive motorbike and car use in the form of heavy pollution and congestion, so if the fare cut could bring commuters off the roads and onto public transport, perhaps. A 2016 study found the economic costs of Bangkok’s traffic was 11 billion baht per year.

Travel direct to Taipei 101 on the new Taipei Metro Xinyi Line

The Taipei Metro has opened the Xinyi Line, a major extension to Red Line services.

The new extension starts runs between Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Xiangshan, with intermediate stations at DongmenDaan Park,  DaanTaipei 101/World Trade Center and Xinyi Anhe.

Screenshot 2013-11-24 18.02.28

There are interchange stations with Orange Line trains at Dongmen and Brown Line trains at Daan.

There are now two Red Line services. Trains from Beitou will run directly to Xiangshan, while trains from Tamsui will run via the Green Line to Xindian.

Additionally, the Xiaonanmen Line has been extended, trains will now run from Ximen to Taipower Building.

We’ve updated our online map at taipei.exploremetro.com, updates to our iOS and Android apps will be available soon.

5 dead and 18 injured in Shanghai Metro Line 12 construction site accident

Tragic news today, Sina reports that 5 people are dead and 18 injured after an accident at a construction site for the Shanghai Metro Line 12 at Jinsui Road (金穗路) in Pudong. The rush to build China’s infrastructure at a breakneck pace means that such accidents sadly seem to be very common. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Tell a friend, win an iPad!

It’s our best competition yet! Anyone who downloads one of our awesome iPhone metro maps has a chance to win an Apple iPad!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to www.exploremetro.com/iphone and download the iPhone app for your favorite city
  2. On your iPhone/iPod, start the app and go to the Help tab
  3. Enter your details and the email address of a friend to be entered in the draw!
  4. Invite more friends for extra chances to win!