The speed limit on four-lane highways nationwide will be increased from 90 kilometres per hour to 120 km/h, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said on Tuesday.
Saksayam said he will ask the Highway Department, the Rural Highway Department and the Land Transport Department to work with the Royal Thai Police to amend the law and regulations to increase the speed limit on highways with four lanes on each side.
Saksayam said he will instruct the three agencies of the Transport Ministry to finish the amendments within one month so that a new ministerial regulation to increase the speed limit can be enacted.
The transport minister said he will also instruct his ministry’s agencies to study the possibility of allowing trucks to run on roads in Bangkok and suburban areas from midnight to 4am in addition to between 10am and 3pm.
The study must be completed in a month and will then be sent to the Road Management Committee, which is chaired by the prime minister, for final approval, Saksayam said.
The minister said he would also speed up the enforcement of the Bhumjai Thai’s policy of legalising ride-sharing services, such as Grab, as alternative means of transport for the public. The policy was promised during the election campaigns.
He said the plan to legalise Grab and other ride-sharing services must be implemented within three months.
Saksayam said he would order a study into the lowering of tolls of the motorways and elevated tollways by Bt5 to Bt10, adding the new rates must not affect concession contracts and that the study must also be completed in one month.
In addition, all non-air-conditioned buses in Bangkok, which are decommissioned after their service life expires, will be replaced by air-conditioned buses.
He will also order electric trains on the lines under the ministry to lower fares within a month. The electric trains slated to offer lower fares include the Airport Rail Link and the Purple Line, he said.
The ministry will also try to increase the ratio of goods transported by railways to roads from 5 to 10 per cent to 30 per cent and this policy will be implemented within three years to reduce road congestion, Saksayam added.
Regarding air transport, the ministry will move ahead with plans to expand both the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports to increase their combined capacity to cope with 150 million passengers per year within three years.
The ministry will also have state-owned Thai Airways International and Thai Smiles reschedule their domestic flights so that the last flights each day would go to provinces, not Bangkok. This would make it convenient for passengers to fly to Bangkok the following morning, Saksayam added.