BMTA owns up to bus problems

BMTA owns up to bus problems

Old, slow and crowded, say riders

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority has a total of 2,885 buses. The vehicles have been in service for five to 25 years and not all buses function well. (Bangkok Post photo)
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority has a total of 2,885 buses. The vehicles have been in service for five to 25 years and not all buses function well. (Bangkok Post photo)

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) has admitted its public bus service is experiencing critical vehicle shortages on almost 27 routes, with nearly 90% of commuters having reported lengthy waits.

Kittikan Chomdoung Charuworapolkul, director of the BMTA, on Saturday said the BMTA has a total of 2,885 buses. The vehicles have been in service for five to 25 years and not all buses function well, with older buses sometimes out of service for repairs, he said.

As to passenger numbers, before Covid-19 the BMTA served 800,000-900,000 passengers per day on trips totalling 19,000 per day.

But the pandemic forced the BMTA to make route and schedule changes. It also had to implement social-distancing measures which limited the number of passengers allowed on each bus.

Consequently, passenger numbers over the past two years declined to 200,000-400,000 per day while total trips were reduced to about 17,000 per day.

However, the situation has improved recently with the easing of Covid-19 measures: daily passenger numbers have increased to 700,000 and daily trips are back up to 19,000.

Nonetheless, many complaints are still being lodged at the city's public bus service.

In its own assessments, the BMTA found problems owed mainly to a shortage of buses, bus drivers and fare collectors. Mismanagement of the service timetable was also cited, Mr Kittikan said.

Mr Kittikan said further BMTA investigation revealed that critical service shortages occurred on 27 of 107 routes, or about 25% of total services.

The BMTA will reschedule service timetables of those problematic routes, especially during evening hours.

The BMTA will also arrange for more buses on certain overcrowded routes.

He said the BMTA does not plan to buy new buses owing to budget constraints.

Meanwhile, a survey by Bangkok University, or Bangkok Poll, showed a majority of people have experienced difficulty with the public bus service. The poll was conducted June 17-21 on 1,151 respondents in the Bangkok metropolitan area.

Some 89.2% said they wait at bus stops for a long time; 44.4% said buses were overcrowded and sometimes could not be entered; and 35.5% said the buses were dirty, in poor condition and very old. Some 75.4% said they were late for work or school because of bus shortage; and 61.4% sometimes needed to use another transport mode.

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (23)

Malaysia urges Asean states to engage Myanmar junta's rivals

Malaysia wants a clear endgame in Myanmar' faltering peace process and is advocating direct engagement by Asean states with the junta's opponents, and bringing other countries into the fold, its foreign minister said on Wednesday.

10 Aug 2022

Over 1m tonnes of goods transported on China-Laos Railway

KUNMING: The total volume of imported and exported goods transported via the China-Laos Railway has reached 1.02 million tonnes since the railway's opening eight months ago, with total worth of about 9.14 billion yuan (48 billion baht).

10 Aug 2022

Temporary stay

PM Prayut confirms the ousted president of Sri Lanka will stay in Thailand on humanitarian grounds as he looks for asylum in a third country.

10 Aug 2022