BMA mulls transferring new rail lines
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BMA mulls transferring new rail lines

An artist’s impression of the Grey Line project. (Bangkok Post file photo)
An artist’s impression of the Grey Line project. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt now wants to transfer two new electric rail projects to the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), while City Hall is still struggling to clear up problems surrounding the Green Line’s concessions.

The two new projects are the Grey Line (Watcharaphon-Thong Lor) and a line between Bang Na and Suvarnabhumi airport, Mr Chadchart said on Tuesday.

The Grey Line has several interchange stations that link with other lines now owned by the MRTA, such as the Pink Line, the Brown Line and the Yellow Line. Therefore, it would be more suitable if the Grey Line were transferred to the MRTA, he said.

If the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) operates these two new lines on its own, it will have to consider the fees for arranging train service connections with the MRTA-run stations, he said.

“The same problems now happening to the Green Line will arise. So, the BMA should not invest further in these new projects and, if the MRTA take over them, it will make the latter’s electric rail network more complete,” the governor said.

Also, the Bang Na-Suvarnabhumi airport line that will stretch to Samut Prakan requires a much bigger budget than the BMA can afford and this line, too, has several transfer stations to connect to the MRTA’s lines, he said.

The city governor said he will next seek discussions with both the MRTA and Bangkok Council about his proposal to transfer the two electric rail projects to the MRTA.

As for the Green Line, he said, the BMA will definitely pay 35 billion baht in debts incurred through hiring Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) to operate the service of the Green Line if it is proved to be fair for the BMA.

Currently, the BMA is a contracting partner of Krungthep Thanakhom (KT), the business arm of the BMA, in the latter’s three contracts to operate the Green Line service, he said.

The money that will be paid to KT for paying off these debts will first have to be approved by the Bangkok Council in a formal budgetary allocation process which requires considerable deliberation, he said.

The first contract deals with the Mor Chit-On Nut main section of the Green Line whose concession to operate the train service until 2029 was granted by the BMA to BTSC, he said.

The second contract concerns the On Nut-Bearing and Taksin-Bang Wa extensions of the Green Line which the BMA has hired KT to manage while KT has subcontracted BTSC to operate the service, he said.

The third contract concerns the Bearing-Kheha and Mor Chit-Saphan Mai-Khu Khot extensions which the BMA has assigned KT to manage while the latter has again subcontracted BTSC to operate them on its behalf, he said.

Mr Chadchart also admitted that his task of clearing up all these issues surrounding the Green Line would take longer than one month, as he had initially expected.

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