Bangkok repays 2.3 billion baht in debt owed to BTS Skytrain

Construction News

Bangkok repays 2.3 billion baht in debt owed to BTS Skytrain

Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt announced yesterday that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) had repaid its 2.3 billion baht in debt to the Bangkok Mass Transit System, commonly known as the BTS. It is hoped that this debt repayment will give the private sector confidence to invest in future projects with the BMA.

The debt owed by BMA to the BTS became a matter of public interest after Skytrain publicly shamed government officials by airing debt collection videos on every screen inside the trains and stations in 2023. The operator also threatened to shut down the train system if the BMA failed to repay the debt.

Chadchart reported in a press conference yesterday, April 4, that the BMA had already issued a cheque to the BTS on April 2 after thorough consideration by the Bangkok Council.

The 57 year old Bangkok chief stated that the BMA hoped this debt repayment would make the private sector more confident in investing in future projects with the BMA and recognising the importance of urban development.

Chadchart added that the annual budget allocated to the BMA might prove insufficient to fund all forthcoming infrastructure projects. The BMA is hopeful that the private sector will place trust in its capabilities and collaborate effectively with officials.

A report by Bangkokbiznews indicates that this debt is associated with the BTS Green Line project and its extensions, linking Bangkok, Samut Prakarn, and Pathum Thani. Workpoint Today highlighted that the initial repayment of this debt amounts to approximately 30 billion baht, with 2.3 billion baht designated for the electrical and mechanical systems’ expenses.

The remaining debt includes 6.9 billion baht for the construction of two extensions (Bearing to Kheha station and Mor Chit to Khu Khot station) and more than 9 billion baht for operational costs since April 2017.

In an interview last year, Chadchart revealed that BMA receives about 80 billion baht in budget per year, which is allocated to transport, urban planning, waste disposal, etc.

The governor also mentioned the new train lines in Bangkok last year, the Gray Line (Watcharapon-Thong Lor) and Silver Line (Bang Na-Suvarnabhumi Airport). The projects were reported to be under study, and there are no new updates on the projects now.