BMTA plans to get 3,200 electric buses

BMTA plans to get 3,200 electric buses

Could phase out gas guzzlers in 3 years

An electric bus is exhibited at a motor show in Nonthaburi province in March. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
An electric bus is exhibited at a motor show in Nonthaburi province in March. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority may procure 3,200 electric buses to phase out fossil-fuelled buses from its fleet in three years, said deputy permanent secretary for transport, Sorapong Paitoonphong.

The plan is a part of BMTA's revised business rehabilitation plan, which will be sent to the cabinet for approval in about two months, he said.

The State Enterprise Policy Office (Sepo) previously instructed the BMTA to revise its business rehabilitation plan to incorporate electric vehicle technology.

Back in 2020, BMTA came up with the plan to buy 2,800 new buses to replace the old buses which it operates across its 109 routes.

The revised plan will see the BMTA procure electric buses to replace the ageing, fossil-fuelled buses, he said.

That said, BMTA has yet to decide whether it will buy or lease the electric buses.

A decision will have to be made soon, as it will determine the procurement budget, Mr Sorapong said, adding there are certain rules which the BMTA is required to follow when it comes to spending the budget.

He also said the BMTA will review its plan to hire a company to repaint 323 of its older, NGV buses that will be used for another five years.

The final version of BMTA's business rehabilitation plan -- which will include details on early retirement for its employees and the planned recruitment of drivers and technicians capable of operating and servicing electric buses -- is expected to be ready in about two months' time, he said.

While the rehabilitation plan is being finalised, BMTA is planning to hire several companies to operate 224 electric buses on certain routes, said Mr Sorapong, adding the plan will cost about 953 million baht.

Meanwhile, companies which hold concessions to run 54 routes in Bangkok and its surrounding provinces will begin to replace their buses with electric buses this month, he said.

On Saturday, electric buses will begin running along Route No 8. Other operators will follow suit in October.

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