Bus conductors face early retirement

Bus conductors face early retirement

A bus conductor walks inside her bus in Bangkok. As many as 2,000 conductors will be offered a one-million-baht early retirement package. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A bus conductor walks inside her bus in Bangkok. As many as 2,000 conductors will be offered a one-million-baht early retirement package. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) is introducing a two-billion-baht early retirement scheme targeting 2,000 bus conductors by 2019, says BMTA deputy director Yuk Charupum.

Now serving as BMTA acting director, Mr Yuk said the early retirement package aims to hand out one million baht to each bus conductor entering the programme, as the agency soon plans to install automated common ticketing systems in buses, making conductors redundant.

He said the BMTA will begin drafting a budget for the scheme next year.

Mr Yuk said numerous bus conductors have expressed interest in joining the early retirement programme.

Recently, the Department of Skills Development came up with a plan to train bus conductors to drive buses so they can switch jobs after the e-ticketing system comes into place. The BMTA said in March it was short of around 1,000 bus drivers.

Meanwhile, Deputy Transport Minister Pichit Akrathit met representatives from the BMTA and the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning yesterday to discuss possible solutions to the BMTA's 103-billion-baht debt woes.

He said the BMTA suggested it should receive subsidies for debt incurred from government policies, such as its debt of 85 billion baht from the total costs of operating an estimated 800 free buses in Bangkok.

However, Mr Pichit said the BMTA's proposed solutions to address its debt situation are still unclear. He added the BMTA must explain how its plans will prevent it from falling back into the red again and promote working transparency in the future.

The BMTA is due to submit a newer, more detailed plan to the Transport Ministry in October, he said.

As for the BMTA's scrapped auction of 489 natural gas for vehicle buses last Thursday after no companies joined the bid, Mr Pichit said the BMTA plans to put some new buses into service before New Year.

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