Krungthep Thanakhom ponders government intervention

Krungthep Thanakhom ponders government intervention

Commuters on the BTS Green Line board the skytrain at Khu Khot BTS station in Bangkok. (File photo: Apichit Jinakul)
Commuters on the BTS Green Line board the skytrain at Khu Khot BTS station in Bangkok. (File photo: Apichit Jinakul)

The board of Krungthep Thanakhom (KT), the business arm of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), is considering two options involving government intervention to help solve issues surrounding two Green Line extensions.

Currently, services along the two extensions -- Mo Chit–Saphan Mai–Khu Khot and Bearing-Samut Prakan-Kheha -- are free of charge, causing income issues. The BMA has incurred debts of about 12 billion baht with the Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) since it was hired to operate Green Line train services in April 2017.

The KT board, chaired by Tongthong Chandransu, former deputy permanent secretary at the Justice Ministry, met on Thursday to discuss issues surrounding Green Line operations as requested by Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt.

Raised during the meeting were issues surrounding the BMA's massive debt and the 30-year concession granted to the BTSC to operate the On Nut-Bearing and Taksin-Bang Wa sections.

Mr Tongthong said the board discussed two options regarding the Mo Chit-Saphan Mai-Khu Khot and Bearing-Samut Prakan-Kheha sections.

One involves returning the two extensions to state control and the other is to ask the government to provide subsidies to help the BMA service its debt, he said.

He said control of the two extensions, including financial responsibility, was transferred to the BMA as a result of a cabinet resolution, and it is beyond the jurisdiction of the BMA or the board to make a decision on the matter.

They were originally controlled by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority before being transferred to the BMA, which had already managed the main section (On Nut-Mor Chit route and National Stadium-Taksin).

The two proposed solutions are not final and will be further discussed during a board meeting today.

Mr Tongthong said the 30-year concession granted to the BTSC to operate the On Nut-Bearing and Taksin-Bang Wa sections was too long and should be reviewed.



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