Higher price for red line agreed
The Cabinet yesterday gave the green light to raising the second contract for the MRT Red Line to Bt21.24 billion from Bt19.31 billion to reflect the 9-per-cent rise in construction costs since the 2009 study of the project.Transport Minister Chadchart Sithipan said the Cabinet also gave the nod to the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to borrow domestic loans for the construction of the Bang Sue-Rangsit extension of the Red Line, more than Bt2.85 billion for civil works in the first contract and Bt2.03 billion for the second contract.
SRT governor Prapat Chong-|sanguan said it expected to sign the first Red Line contract covering the construction of Bang Sue station and maintenance centre this month with the bid winner SU Consortium.
The consortium comprises Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction and Unique Engineering and Con-struction.
For the second contract, Italian-Thai Development quoted the lowest price. SRT is waiting for the Japan International Cooperation Agency, loan provider for the Red Line, to approve the result.
The Cabinet also approved the establishment of a panel under Article 13 of the Public-Private Joint Venture Act to renegotiate for a lower price from MRT operator Bangkok Metro (BMCL), which gave the lowest quote for the fourth contract to build and operate the Bang Yai-Bang Sue section of the Purple Line.
The company had quoted Bt93 billion before lowering it to Bt89 billion after the first round of bargaining.
The minister said the price should be even lower, since the company would not have to shoulder any ridership risk.
The ministry also ordered the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) to be ready to operate the trains on this route if the second round of talks with BMCL fails.
Chadchart said the Article 13 panel would focus on cutting the cost of the rolling stock, reducing the cost under the MRTA's responsibility and lowering operating and maintenance costs. The panel is required to reach a deal within 30 days.
The Cabinet also asked the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) to review its request for Bt13 billion to procure 3,183 natural-gas-fuelled public buses and resubmit it for consideration next week.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shina-watra wants to see more buses with equipment installed to serve the physically challenged. The BMTA estimates the cost of this equipment at Bt50,000-Bt100,000 per bus. If the proposal is approved, the agency has to draw up the terms of reference and call an e-auction. The authority expects the first delivery in six months.
The purchase will be divided into eight contracts for eight routes each. The buses must have a useful life of more than 10 years. The BMTA estimates that city buses will carry 5 million passengers per day in the future, up from 3.6 million today.