BTSC sues City Hall over debt

BTSC sues City Hall over debt

Commuters of the BTS Green Line board the skytrain at Khu Khot BTS station in mid-January this year. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Commuters of the BTS Green Line board the skytrain at Khu Khot BTS station in mid-January this year. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC), operator of the BTS Skytrain, has filed a lawsuit against the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and its business arm Krungthep Thanakhom (KT) to force them to service their overdue debt worth about 12 billion baht.

Surapong Laoha-Unya, CEO of BTSC, said the lawsuit, which was accepted by the Administrative Court, involves the 12-billion-baht debt which City Hall and KT owe to the company for operating the Green Line extensions and other related expenses since April 2017.

The extensions are between On Nut and Bearing, Saphan Taksin and Bang Wa, Bearing-Kheha and Mo Chit-Saphan Mai-Khu Khot stations.

Mr Surapong said the company has to seek a court order to force the BMA to honour its obligations as City Hall’s failure to settle the debt has adversely affected the company, noting it was forced to seek loans to shoulder its train operation expenses.

He said a separate lawsuit involving a 20-billion-baht debt incurred from train operations and signalling systems will also be filed with the court. The company is gathering information for the lawsuit, he added.

Mr Surapong said the train service on the new extensions remains free of charge in line with the BMA’s policy.

BTSC, as the operator, has no say in the issue, and it is the BMA that will decide when to start collecting fares, he said. Asked about a possible extension of the Green Line concession on core routes, he said there is no progress on the issue.

BTSC was granted a concession on the Silom Line from the National Stadium to the Taksin Bridge station, and the Sukhumvit route from Mo Chit to On Nut. The concession is due to expire in 2029.

With the current concession not expiring until that year, consumer groups have been calling policy-makers not to rush the issue.

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