The Mall offers Bang Na site for bus depot

Construction News

The transport ministry and company will relocate the jam-packed Ekamai location (above) further to the east to Bang Na so the current location can become a mall or condo. (Photo courtesy of the Transport Co)

The Mall shopping centre operator has offered its 7.5-rai land plot near the Bang Na intersection for development of the new eastern inter-city bus terminal.

Deputy Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said he had instructed the Transport Co to study the offer.

The proposal came after the Transport Co announced a plan to relocate the 7 rai eastern bus terminal at Ekamai due to congestion.

Noppharat Karunyavanich, acting president of the Transport Co, said the Mall and the company were discussing details of the deal.

The Transport Co wants the right to use the land for at least 20 years, he said, adding a conclusion would be reached and sent to the company’s board in the next month.

“Moving there would help ease traffic problems in the city,” Mr Noppharat said.

If relocated to Bang Na, Transport Co will oversee services at the terminal, he said, adding the firm will receive revenue from bus operation fees.

The landlord will receive parking fees of 10 baht for each public van and 20 baht from each public bus, Mr Noppharat said.

The company has also commissioned King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi to study a proposal to develop the Ekamai terminal for commercial purposes, he said.

Interest from private firms will be sought to develop the old terminal.

The terminal’s location at the heart of the city means it could be developed as a condominium, shopping mall or apartment block, Mr Noppharat said. Revenue from the project would help boost the company’s coffers.

He added that property development would be one of the key revenue streams for the Transport Co, which should help offset the company’s dwindling earnings from its bus operations as the number of people using private cars or low-cost airlines increases.

Mr Noppharat said the company’s profit could be slightly lower than the 300-million-baht target this year due to the economic downturn.

He said the company was also considering relocating the southern intercity-bus terminal as its lease expires in 2025. Other areas will be sought if the landlord refuses to renew the contract, he added.

Meanwhile, the Transport Ministry will seek cabinet approval Tuesday to proceed with three new motorway projects.

They consist of the 196km route connecting Ayutthaya’s Bang Pa-in district and Nakhon Ratchasima, costing 84.6 billion baht; the 96km route from Nonthaburi’s Bang Yai district to Kanchanaburi, costing 55.6 billion baht; and the 32km route connecting Pattaya in Chon Buri and Map Ta Put in Rayong, costing 20.2 billion baht.

Mr Arkhom said authorities plan to use motorway toll money to fund construction of the Pattaya-Map Ta Put route, while the Finance Ministry will seek other financial sources to fund the other two routes.

Construction bids for the Pattaya-Map Ta Put route can be sought after cabinet gives its consent, as authorities have already decided on median prices and divided the route into 13 sections for bidding, said Chusak Gaywee, director-general of the Department of Highways.

Authorities may need three months to assess prices and divide the 196km route and 96km route for construction bids, he said.

“The construction of the three motorways is projected to be completed within two and a half years after the contracts are signed,” Mr Chusak said.

Responding to Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula’s criticism the Pattaya-Map Ta Put motorway would complicate rail development in the area, Mr Chusak said the motorway will not duplicate other rail projects, and the two transport methods would in fact complement each other.