Cabinet to be asked to review BMTA’s plan to purchase 3,183 NGV buses

The Transport Ministry will propose the cabinet to review the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority’s project to purchase 3,183 NGV buses worth a total of 13.1 billion baht because the plan was conceived about a decade ago and endorsed by the previous administration.

Transport Minister Phichit Akarathit said on Thursday that the project was in need of reconsideration and readjustment to suit with the advent on new bus models and technology, the wish of bus commuters and the availability of mass transit options such as electric buses, hybrid buses and buses which use alternative fuels.

Also, he said the ministry would ask the cabinet to reconsideration the city bus agency’s plan to procure 200 electric buses worth about 3.3 billion baht.

A for the first lot of 489 NGV buses which the BMTA had already taken delivery from its supplier, Bestlin Group, Mr Phicit warned BMTA to proceed with caution and to abide by the law in connection with this bus fleet.

Pointing out at BMTA’s massive accumulated debt totaling over 100 billion baht plus annual operating loss of between 4-5 billion baht, the minister said that the first thing to deal with this debt problem was to stop the bleeding and to find out the cause or causes of loss, where they come from and who should be held accountable.

However, he admitted that one reason for the loss came from the government’s policy to freeze bus fares which do not reflect the actual costs.

He said that he had asked the city bus to study the possibility of increasing bus fares and by how much to ensure fairness and to cover the actual operating costs.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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