BMA ‘ready’ to pay off B19bn of MRTA debts
City Hall has welcomed the government’s decision to let it take over the extension of the Green Line electric rail from Bearing to Samut Prakan.
The line was previously under the care of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA).
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has, on more than one occasion, requested an opportunity to invest in construction on the Green Line and manage its services, said deputy Bangkok governor Amorn Kijchawengkul yesterday.
City Hall wants to take over work on the extension because, in 2032, the BMA will regain full ownership of the main section of the Green Line between Mo Chit and On Nut after the concession granted to Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited expires.
The BMA is ready to repay debts incurred by the MRTA while funding construction of the Bearing-Samut Prakan section, Mr Amorn said.
City Hall may request a subsidy from the government to cover the interest on loans taken out by the MRTA for the project, he said.
The subsidy would help the BMA avoid having to raise travel fares after the takeover, he said.
The BMA will base its fares on the standard prices agreed on by the MRTA and the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning.
The 13km-long Bearing-Samut Prakan section comprises nine stations, and by 2017 the BMA should be able to commence services on the first station — Samrong — which is next to Bearing.
Transport Minister Prajin Juntong said the MRTA and City Hall agreed at a Feb 16 meeting which included Gen Yodyuth Boonyatikarn, the MRTA’s chairman, to speed up negotiations on the city’s plans to invest in the Bearing-Samut Prakan section.
The BMA has to come up with a plan on how it will pay off debts incurred by the MRTA during the construction of the electric rail section, ACM Prajin said.
The BMA is also required to submit details to the MRTA of how it will ensure smooth transit for commuters and the possible fares it will charge passengers travelling on the extended Bearing-Samut Prakan route, he said.
“The MRTA and the BMA will have to discuss in detail how the BMA plans to compensate the MRTA for construction costs,” ACM Prajin said.
“It needs to say exactly what format it will adopt to transfer construction-cost debts to the MRTA,” he said.
Gen Yodyuth said the BMA will have to pay about 19 billion baht of the MRTA’s debts.
ACM Prajin made it clear that if the BMA intends to charge passengers at rates the MRTA thinks are too high, the authority will need to negotiate with the BMA to lower the fares to more suitable rates, Gen Yodyuth said.
The construction of this section of the Green Line is expected to be completed in 2019.
Meanwhile, the MRTA is working on the 18.2km-long extension of the Mo Chit-Saphan Mai-Khu Khot route.
It is in the process of negotiating with companies bidding for contracts to construct it, Gen Yodyuth said.