New airport buses off to flying start
B200,000 revenue collected in five days
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) pocketed more than 200,000 baht during the first five days of its new bus service shuttling tourists from Don Mueang airport to the city centre.
Chitchai Phuaree, a director of the BMTA's Bus Management Office, said the agency earned about 225,000 baht from the airport service from May 1-5, which is a good start for the service.
The bus services run on two routes: the A3, running from Don Mueang airport to Lumpini Park, and the A4, from the airport to Sanam Luang.
Don Mueang airport is dedicated mostly to low-cost airlines and chartered flights.
According to Mr Chitchai, both routes served a total of 4,506 passengers during the five days.
Of the passengers, 2,350 took the A3 route, generating revenue of 117,220 baht, or 23,444 baht a day, while 2,156 used the A4 route, pulling in revenue of 107,800 baht, or 21,560 baht a day.
Though no comparable revenue figures were provided, Mr Chitchai said the agency plans to add more shuttle routes from Don Mueang airport as the service appears to be overwhelmingly popular among passengers, particularly foreign tourists.
Earlier, the BMTA launched the A1 and A2 bus routes, which connect passengers from the airport to Chatuchak and Victory Monument respectively.
Both routes have generated strong revenues for the agency, said Mr Chitchai, which prompted the launch of the latest routes. In April alone, the BMTA earned about 6.6 million baht in revenue from the A1 and A2 routes, which both served a total of 438,691 passengers.
The A1 route earned 4.3 million baht shuttling 291,412 passengers while the A2 route generated 2.2 million in revenue serving 147,279 passengers.
Meanwhile, Prayoon Choygeo, deputy director of the BTMA's bus operation, said the agency was studying expanding new routes from the airport to major tourist attractions, based on the positive feedback from passengers using the A3 and A4 routes.
The recent shuttle routes were launched in response to the Transport Ministry's policy, called One Transport, which aims to ease public transportation and make commuting a happy, convenient and safe experience.
As for Suvarnabhumi airport, Mr Prayoon said bus routes may be opened linking the country's gateway airport to Khao San Road and Sanam Luang and from the airport to the Ekkamai bus terminal and the Hua Lamphong train station.
However, he said the BMTA must first analyse projected earnings from the routes to prevent any losses. He noted that most passengers heading to Suvarnabhumi airport prefer taking taxis as they usually have a lot of luggage with them.
Besides, they have other transport options such as the Airport Rail Link train, which is more convenient than public buses, he added.
If the BMTA wants to shuttle passengers from Suvarnabhumi airport, the layout of the bus interior should be organised to make more storage space available to accommodate large suitcases.
The bus designs could be similar the buses operated by the Airports of Thailand Plc.