Bangkok ushers in a muted Car-Free day thanks to Covid-19

Car-Free Day Poster from BEM

No events at City hall this year to welcome Bangkok’s annual Car-Free day. Previous years saw civic groups holding colourful events at Cityhall. The lacklustre mood and lack of celebrations were simply due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

MRTA and BEM join Car-Free Day Campaign this year

Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited (BEM) joins the campaign this year. MRTA and BEM are offering free rides on certain lines as well as free coupons for food and drinks. The vouchers are redeemable at selected kiosks at MRT and Skytrain stations.

SEA-BP correspondents interviewed a few commuters on the train. We asked them how they felt about the car-free day. Miss Surikhit, 26 from Ratchada, mentioned how she was pleasantly surprised by the coupons. She acknowledged that she had previously not known of such a day as she doesn’t drive either and prefers to take the bus or train.

Student Protests Concerns

Mr Sutep, 65 from Petchburi, chuckled when asked about the lack of activities to commemorate the day. He replied that he felt that the student protests had prevented the organisers from holding events. “It would be silly for the authorities to hold such events today as it would put the attendees in danger’, he added. He also agreed that Covid-19 has also added to the lack of activities for the day, but he couldn’t be sure which had more cause.

One thing for sure is the roads are a lot more quieter today. Bangkok is a city known for its notorious traffic jams. The current administration has seen the growth of more train stations and increased ridership of buses and trains. However, with the population steadily growing more roads and highways will also be required. Car-free days can be a novel way of trying to save the environment, but it certainly comes short, especially during times like these.

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