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New Skytrain stations are more than 70% complete

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday inspected the progress of construction at the BTS Pho Nimit Station on the Skytrain's Taksin-Phetkasem route.

Pho Nimit and Talad Plu stations are due to begin service on December 5. Commuters will enjoy free rides until May next year.

Pho Nimit Station is 75 per cent complete and Talad Plu 71 per cent, the governor said.

Wuttakat and Bang Wa stations will be complete and ready for operation by August 12 next year, he said.

Deputy Governor Theerachon Manomaipiboon said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) couldn't start construction of Bang Wa Station until the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) finishes building the mass-transit system's Blue Line.

The BMA aims to work with the MRTA to ensure the project is completed on time, Theerachon said.

Amorn Kitchawengkul, managing director of Krungthep Thanakom, the city's financial arm, said two trains with three carriages each would serve commuters using Pho Nimit and Talad Plu stations. Since only one side of the dual track will be completed this year, the service will be slower than planned to begin with, but once all stations are complete, commuters will not face any such inconvenience, Amorn said.

Theerachon said the construction of 54 lifts for disabled commuters at BTS stations would be complete next year.

Meanwhile, the Pheu Thai Party yesterday submitted additional evidence in support of its petition against the BMA over its 13-year extension of Bangkok Mass Transit System Co's contract. BTSC operates the Skytrain.

Party spokesman Jirayu Huangsab submitted documents to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) saying the move by the BMA might have violated the Public-Private Joint Venture Act 1992 and the State Bidding Act 1999.

He accused the BMA of intentionally distorting information when it cited a Council of State ruling.

The information allegedly claimed that the BMA - which paid for the construction of the Skytrain track - earned income from commuter fares, while the BTS - which paid for the carriages - received only a fixed payment to operate the transit system, irrespective of its profits or losses.

The aim of the alleged deception, according to Jirayu, was to establish that the investment does not fall under the Public-Private Joint Venture Act.

The DSI's Special Cases Committee will decide on October 10 whether to take up the case, according to the department's deputy director-general, Siwaporn Chuenjit-issara.


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