Year published :October 2014

Pages :448 pp.

Size :14x21 cm.

ISBN: 9786162150807

Trams, Buses, and Rails: The History of Urban Transport in Bangkok, 1886–2010

by Ichiro Kakizaki

23 Figures, 53 Tables, Paperback

Trams, Buses, and Rails recounts the unique and little-known 130-year history of Bangkok’s transportation system, from the first horse-powered tramway in 1888 to the mass transit urban railway of the twenty-first century. It documents the emergence of trams, buses, subways, elevated trains, and paratransit vehicles along the way. While the growth of transportation types corresponds roughly to the development of urban transport in other Southeast Asian capitals, in Bangkok the planning, construction, implementation, and regulation of transportation systems have made for a particularly lurching and fitful journey.

Bangkok’s traffic congestion is notorious and begs the question, why has the development of an effective urban transport network been so protracted? Using government archives and annual reports, the author deftly pieces together long-buried records and statistics to reconstruct the transportation policies of each successive metropolitan and national administration, and thereby reveals their underlying political agendas. As he investigates the politicization and regulation of Bangkok’s transport systems over the decades, he uncovers a morass of setbacks, reversals, duplications, delays, revisions, withdrawals, and cancelations that help to explain Bangkok’s continuing transportation woes.

A series of maps and tables elucidate the development of transportation routes and the rise and fall of the city’s trams, railways, and bus lines.

About the Author

Ichiro KAKIZAKI is Associate Professor at Yokohama City University in Japan. His books in English include Laying the Tracks: The Thai Economy and Its Railways, 1885–1935 (2005) and Rails of the Kingdom: The History of Thai Railways (2012). 

What Others Are Saying

“A comprehensive history of the rise and fall of public transport in Bangkok. This well-written book shows how trams, buses, and rails in Bangkok evolved over time and covers both economic and political aspects.”—Sumet Ongkittikul, Research Director for Transportation and Logistics Policy, Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI)


  • Presents a detailed history and comprehensive survey of Bangkok’s urban transport system


Bangkok | urban transport | transport policy | tramways | buses | urban railways