The Transport Ministry has summoned Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) permanent secretary Khajit Chatchawanich for a meeting at the Traffic and Transport Department on March 31 to discuss the BTS Green Line train dispute with operator Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC), a news source revealed on Tuesday.
The BTSC had filed a lawsuit against the BMA in September last year, suing the city for 12 billion baht it claimed it is owed for operating the Green Line extension and another 20 billion baht it is owed for the train operating system.
The Interior Ministry in February proposed fixing the problem by extending the BTSC’s concession contract for another 30 years from 2029 to 2059 in exchange for the BTSC capping the maximum fare at Bt65. However, the Transport Ministry strongly objected, saying the Bt65 maximum fair is too high for low-income commuters.
The news source said the Transport Ministry had asked the BMA to submit copies of contracts that allow Krungthep Thanakom Ltd to install electricity systems on the Bearing-Samut Prakarn and Mo Chit-Ku Kot Green Line sections.
“The project was assigned to the BMA by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand [MRTA], but the BMA instead offered the job to Krungthep Thanakom,” the source said.
“It is speculated that the Transport Ministry wants to check the budget used by the BMA for this project so it could have a better idea of the origin of debt the BMA has accumulated from operating the Green Line,” the source said.
“In the end, if the BMA is not granted any government money to settle the debt, it would have no other choice but to transfer the Green Line back to the MRTA, the original owner,” the source added.