Bangkok’s public transportation system can be used by the disabled and those in wheelchairs, but only parts of the network are accessible. The city is served by three independent rail and subway networks: BTS Skytrain, MRT subway and the ARL which provides service to/from Bangkok International Airport (BKK).
The city bus system is not accessible for wheelchair users.
The BTS Skytrain, opened in 1999, is an elevated train system which runs through the city. The Skytrain is accessible to wheelchair users at some, but not all, stations. The BTS is composed of two lines: the Sukhumvit and Silom lines. The stations equipped with elevators that can accommodate wheelchairs on the Sukhumvit line are:
- Mo Chit
- On Nut
- Bang Chak
- Udom Suk
- Bang Na
The stations equipped with elevators and accessible to wheelchair users on the Silom line are:
- Chong Nonsi
- Krung Thon Buri
- Wongwian Yai
- Pho Nimit
- Talat Phlu
- Bang Wa
The only transfer station between the Sukhumvit and Silom BTS lines is Siam station. This station is fully accessible and equipped with elevators.
Bangkok also boasts an underground subway line, the Mass Rapid Transit system, or MRT. Opened in 2004, the MRT is accessible to wheelchair users at ALL stations. Each subway station is equipped with elevators for ease of access. The MRT system connects to the BTS Skytrain at a number of stations. The following is a list of the accessible connections (connecting stations have different names between the MRT and BTS).
MRT Station …..Connects to….. BTS Station (Line)
Chatuchak Park ….. Mo Chit (Sukhumvit Line)
Sukhumvit ….. Asok (Sukhumvit Line)
A third transit line, the Airport Rail Link or ARL, provides service to Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK). While all stations of the ARL are wheelchair accessible, the level of accessibility at each station varies. Users of power wheelchairs should NOT attempt to utilize the ARL to or from its Phaya Thai terminus station. The gap present between the platform and train at this station could cause power wheelchairs to become damaged or stuck. Manual wheelchairs can clear this gap with the assistance of station personnel who are happy to help. Manual wheelchair users should NOT attempt to transfer from the BTS to ARL at Phaya Thai station as there is no elevator from the BTS platform to mezzanine. The only wheelchair accessible connection point from another transit line to the ARL is at the MRT Phetchaburi station which connects to the ARL Makkasan station.
To view a complete network map of the train/subway systems in Bangkok, CLICK HERE.
While the public transportation system in Bangkok can be frustrating to use at times, the people of Thailand will always be willing to lend a helping hand should you need it. The transit system will not be able to get the wheelchair user everywhere they would like to go. Walking/rolling is an option to overcome the limitations of the BTS/MRT as are wheelchair accessible vans which can be hired.