Chadchart: THB65 Skytrain fare ‘unreasonable’, issuing bonds could solve Green Line dispute
New Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sitthiphan said on Wednesday that he planned to discuss with Krungthep Thanakom – a company wholly owned by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) – the possibility of amending the concession contract with Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC) to resolve the debt issue in which the BMA owes BTSC money for Green Line operations.
BTSC had slapped the BMA with a lawsuit in September last year, suing the city for THB12 billion it said it was owed for operating the Green Line train extension and another THB20 billion for the train operating system itself. The total debt and interest has now reportedly amounted to nearly THB40 billion.
“There is no way the BMA will wait until the contract expires [in 2029] before doing something,” said Chadchart.
“We must try to amend the contract now as the process could take a long time and require cooperation from related parties,” he pointed out.
“If necessary, the BMA may issue bonds to raise money to settle the THB40 billion debt with BTSC. I believe this issue should not be the reason for raising the fare to THB65 across the BTS system since it’s unreasonable,” the governor said.
Chadchart explained that a more sensible way was to collect a separate fare of THB30 from travellers using the Green Line extension, which comprises eight stations. This way those who use the train on other routes would not have to shoulder the financial burden from the Green Line, which aims to hike the fare to THB65.
“There is more than one way to settle the debt. However, the debt should not be the reason to not extend the concession contract with the train operator. We must separate these issues in order to not get confused,” Chadchart added.