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City Hall mulls BTS private ownership

2018.08.06 09:55:20 | 2018.08.06 09:55:38
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City Hall floats the idea of allowing private firms to bid for a new contract that will allow them to operate the extension lines of BTS Green Line.

City Hall floats the idea of allowing private firms to bid for a new contract that will allow them to operate the extension lines of BTS Green Line.

City Hall has floated the idea of allowing private firms to bid for a new contract that will allow them to operate the extension lines of BTS Green Line electric trains running outside Bangkok.

The move comes after the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) could not conjure up 100 billion baht for the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA). The MRTA has built the extensions to the BTS Green Line -- from Mo Chit to Khu Khot in Pathum Thani and from Bearing to Samut Prakan.

Both are extensions to the existing BTS Green Line which terminate within Bangkok. The current BTS train lines are operated by the Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC).

However, deputy city clerk Sompong Wiengkaew said the BMA is willing to find a private firm to operate the extension section. Originally, the BTSC had the concession to run the extension parts without having to pay the MRTA.

According to Mr Sompong, a private firm that operates the extension, will need to invest in two phases.

The first would be for an 11-year period, from 2019-2029. The firm would have to shoulder all related debts including deficits from ticket fares.

The second phase, from 2030 to 2059, would involve the firm buying trains, as well as operating and maintaining the entire network.

Both parts will reportedly involve a concession scheme.

"If a firm, such as a foreign company, strikes a deal with a Thailand-based company and can comply with the terms we have proposed, then it is possible that they can be eligible for the contract," Mr Sompong said.

He added that bidding could start by the end of the year and a winner announced early next year.

At present, the BMA must pay the MRTA over 100 billion baht in fees and interest since the latter has already carried out construction for both the northern and southern extensions.

A cabinet agreement in June 2015 stated that the BMA, as the current owner of the entire Sukhumvit and Silom lines, must take over the new extensions as well.

Both of these extensions have stations which are located outside of Bangkok, which are not within the BMA`s jurisdiction.

BMA officials have said the administration is also holding talks with the BTSC to see if it can make payments in a scheme system.

At present, the BTSC is the concessionaire of the entire Green Line network, the concession of which will gradually expire completely in 2042.

According to the BMA, there is no clause in these contracts which permits the cancellation of the BTSC`s concession, unless the firm intentionally does not follow through with the terms originally agreed upon.

"We will have to hold negotiations with the BTSC [to shorten the concession] if necessary," Mr Sompong said.

Meanwhile, the BTSC is in the process of purchasing 148 new carriages to use on the new extensions, with the first batch already shipped to Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri.

By Bangkok Post(Published: 04/08/2018)

https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/tourism-and-transport/1515338/city-hall-mulls-bts-private-ownership

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]

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