Major revamp of Bangkok bus services underway

Major revamp of Bangkok bus services underway

Part of the BMTA's fleet of
Part of the BMTA's fleet of "hot" buses parked at a city depot. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The cabinet has approved a major overhaul of Bangkok city bus services that will end the BMTA's monopoly and allow competition from licensed private operators.

Sanit Promwong, director-general of the Land Transport Department (LTD), said a cabinet resolution of Jan 11, 1983, gave the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) the sole right to provide bus services in Bangkok and nearby provinces.

Private bus firms must enter a contract with the BMTA and operate under a concession.

Mr Sanit said the reforms were  passed by resolution at Tuesday's cabinet meeting.

When the changes become effective the BMTA's concession holders will have to apply to the LTD for an operating licence.

This means the LTD will be the sole regulator of the bus services.  The BMTA will no longer be the sole operator, but will instead be one of the operators of bus services.

The resolution represents a major reform of the bus service and promotes fair competition, Mr Sanit said.

The cabinet also approved draft amending legislation to enable the changes.

The laws to be amended are the Land Transport Act of 1979 regarding the validity of a licence for running transport services, a ministerial regulation on licence fees, a ministerial regulation on issuing a licence, and a ministerial regulation for the establishment of a new agency to supervise bus operations in Bangkok and nearby provinces.

Other reforms to bus services will include the drawing of new bus routes, new criteria for issuing licences for transport services and the selection of quality operators.

Mr Sanit said the current bus routes must be re-drawn to do away with problems of overlapping and expand the service coverage, to effectively respond to the people's needs.

The LTD will attach importance to the quality of buses as well as safety and convenience for commuters.

However, Mr Sanit did not give a timeframe for the completion of the changes.


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