BTS signs B2bn carriage deal

Construction News Vietnam

Four-car trains to ease congestion

SET-listed BTS Group, the operator of the Bangkok SkyTrain, has signed a 50-million (2-billion-baht) deal with Siemens of Germany to supply one car to each of its 35 three-car trains.

Chief operating officer Surapong Laoha-Uny said the deliveries of the new carriages were scheduled over the next 30 months to serve the expected growing demand on the Sukhumvit route following the opening of the On Nut-Baring extension in mid-August 2011.

Operation of the new section is forecast to help lift average ridership to 500,000 a day next year. Revenue growth in 2011 is expected to exceed the 8% figure estimated this year, thanks partly to the increased capacity of its new four-car trains.

Next month, BTS will introduce its new Chinese-made four-car trains. The 12 new trains will be in full service by December to help attract customers on the congested Silom route, said Mr Surapong.

The Chinese-made trains will increase SkyTrain capacity by 30% from the current three-car trains made by Siemens. The new trains each have a capacity of 1,490 passengers, while the current three-car series can carry 1,106.

Average ridership on the SkyTrain on weekdays is 460,000 and is projected to reach 480,000 by year-end.

“This year, we will be able to achieve revenue growth of 8% as targeted despite political unrest in the second quarter,” said Mr Surapong. “Revenue will grow significantly higher in 2011 with our extended route to Baring and the new four-car trains in service.”

Under the plan, the new trains with higher capacity will be introduced on the congested Silom line while the existing three-car trains will be shifted to the Sukhumvit route.

As well, BTS has been in talks with strategic partners, mainly foreign companies, to jointly bid to operate the Purple Line system now under construction. 

Overseas, the company has been approached by the government in Macau to manage its metro train service. It is also pursuing an opportunity to bid for construction of a mass-transit project in Vietnam.

BTS chairman Keeree Kanjanapas said the group expected to return to profitability in the current quarter after losing money in the previous quarter because of the impact of anti-government demonstrations, which led to several days of service suspensions.

Shares of BTS closed on Friday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 0.83 baht, up two satang, in trade worth 644.5 million baht.


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