There are many reasons why one might choose to walk instead of drive. It could be a matter of how far you are going, what the weather is like, or the road conditions along the way. However, in Thailand I have noticed that many Thais will use a car or motorbike to travel distances that are rediculously short, like a few hundred meters, to avoid the hot sun or getting sweaty.
Bangkok is a large megatropolis in which one can find many different methods of transportation. Why is it then that Bankok has a disporportionate amount of car owners compared to cities like Hong Kong and Singapore? The convenience of driving one’s own car in comfort versus using mass transit systems or taxis is one thing, but the cost of car ownership in the city and inconvenience of having to sit in traffic and find parking are disadvantages to consider.
It is interesting to note that the MRT/subway system in Bangkok has car parks at some stations for commuters to park and then ride the MRT into the city. However, these car parks are so few and limited in parking spaces that they could not support all of the potential users. Also, a few condo buildings being built within walking distance to the MRT stations are not providing resident car parks. The assumption is that these residents would not need a car because they would use the subway system. There are obvious problems with this since not everyone’s work is within reach of the MRT/BTS network and car ownership is more than just a method of getting to work.
Living in the city with a car provides its own difficulties for parking and dealing with traffic, but many have there is also the pride factor that goes along with car ownership. Many males especially get a certain satisfaction from having their own set of wheels and being able to come and go in style. It seems that the traffic problem in Bangkok will continue because many Bangkokians prefer to use their own transportation rather than public transportation.