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MRTA in Bt600 bn investment plan line 2020

By on Aug 21, 2012 in Property News

An estimated 3 million passengers per day are forecast to travel on Bangkok’s MRT rail system by 2020, prompting the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand to draw up urgent plans to invest in six more lines with a combined investment of Bt600 billion within those eight years.

Those six lines will cover a distance of 200 kilometres and should begin operations by 2020.

MRTA governor Yongsit Rojsrikul said yesterday that the six planned lines and increasing number of passengers would allow the company to achieve break-even point more quickly.

At present, the number of people using commuter rail is still low, accounting for only 10 per cent of Greater Bangkok’s total mass-transit system. This derives from the small number of lines, which only reach limited numbers of people.

“The MRTA has been established for 20 years but it still has only one electric line that is only 20km long,” Yongsit said.

He added that the MRTA also planned to generate more income from the space along its routes in both residential and commercial areas. The strategy aims to reduce the government’s investment cost.

Suchatvee Suwansawat, chairman of the National Housing Authority, said the NHA, MRTA and the State Railway of Thailand were working together to set up residential projects along the mass-transit lines. The projects will assist people whose residences are situated along the main canals in Bangkok such as Prem Prachakorn and Saen Saeb.

These units number about 150,000 now. These people will be moved out to the Lam Luk Ka area, close to the BTS Green Line, Bang Kapi, close to the MRT Orange Line, and Min Buri, close to the MRT Pink Line. This project requires a budget of Bt72 billion.

Suchatvee added that people would be attracted to move to those areas as they would be convenient for transport.

Narong Pomlukthong, an academic with the Thailand Development Research Institute, said the MRTA should supervise the projects instead of managing the electric lines’ operations. In addition, it should focus more on setting up maintenance units for all brands of locomotives. The plan will help the MRTA learn more about technology transfer and operating costs.

“So far, the MRTA has not had any experience managing costs, which have been handled by Bangkok Metro. The MRTA should learn more about return on investment to facilitate its supervisory tasks in the future,” Narong said.

Moreover, the MRTA should prevent a monopoly in the rail system; the locomotives should not come from a single brand but should allow for other brands, he said.

Source : The Nation 21 August 2012

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