BMA seizes reins on Green Line project

Construction News

A passenger buys a ticket at BTS Bearing Station, the destination of the current extended skytrain route. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Transport Ministry will ask the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) next week to take over the entire Green Line train project, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong said yesterday.

ACM Prajin said he will meet City Hall clerk Sanya Chenimit to finalise the decision for the BMA to oversee the entire Green Line — both the 12.8-kilometre southern extension from Bearing to Samut Prakan and the 19.5-kilometre northern extension from Mor Chit to Saphan Mai-Ku Kot.

The minister will handle negotiations with the BMA to handle both routes on the Green Line, a meeting on Wednesday with the Commission for the Management of Land Traffic decided. It is not clear if costs are likely to increase under the arrangement, though the BMA has sought more money to take on the task.

The line was previously under the care of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), which oversees rapid transit systems in the Bangkok metropolitan area. However, the ministry now wants both routes to be under the BMA’s supervision.

“Personally, I agree with the plan because it will be more convenient for commuters as the entire system will be run under a single operator,” ACM Prajin said.

But if the BMA supervises the entire Green Line, they will have to return the construction budget to the MRTA, he said.

Meanwhile, an MRTA source said ACM Prajin has ordered the MRTA to negotiate with the BMA to refund to the MRTA the entire 17,092-million-baht construction budget but no agreement has been reached.

The BMA has also sought a higher budget from the government to take on the project, but ACM Prajin has brushed aside the proposal.

Even though the Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) is a concessionaire and operator of the Green Line from Mo Chit to On Nut and National Stadium to Saphan Taksin, the BTSC will not be involved in the talks at this stage. “We will discuss the matter and reach a decision with the BMA first,” ACM Prajin said.