BTS sky train passengers who use either of the two extensions of the Green Line, between Bearing and Keha in Samut Prakan (13km) and between Mo Chit and Khu Khot in Pathum Thani (19km), will begin paying fares in August.
The decision to charge fares on the two extensions, which have been free to use so far, was made at the meeting of the board of Krungthep Thanakom Company, the investment arm of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) yesterday (Saturday).
Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, the company’s chairman Tongthong Chandransu and Deputy Bangkok Governor Wisanu Subsompon were among board members who attended the meeting.
The governor said that the decision to start collecting fares on the two extensions will enable the BMA to earn revenue, to help repay its mountain of debt and interest thereon, estimated at about 100 billion baht.
He said, however, that officials will look into the amounts owed to determine whether it was legally justified, but did not mention the train fares of either of the two extension routes.
The infrastructure construction costs of the two extensions were met by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA), under the jurisdiction of the Transport Ministry, and are estimated at about 60 billion baht.
The train carriages, operating costs and the accrued amount of uncollected fares on the two extensions since they opened, due to indecision over the pricing, are met by BTS Group Holdings Plc and are estimated at about 40 billion baht. Once a decision is reached on the fares, the amount uncollected from passengers will be charged to the BMA by BTS Holdings.
The meeting also agreed to publically disclose the contents of the concession contracts for the BTS sky train system, for the sake of transparency.
Governor Chadchart said that there are several complicated issues in the contracts, but a team of city officials will try to simplify them for the public.
The entire BTS system is divided into three phases.
The first phase comprises two routes, from Mo Chit to On Nut and from the National Stadium to Wongwian Yai. This phase was wholly funded by BTS, which was awarded the concession to operate the routes for 30 years, from 1999 to 2529, under a Build, Operate and Transfer contract.
The second phase involves two extensions, from On Nut to Bearing and from Wongwian Yai to Bang Wa.
The BMA, through Krungthep Thanakom, invested in the infrastructure construction, while BTS invested in train carriages and the operating system.
Former Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra approved the signing of the contract to allow BTS to operate the two extensions for 30 years from 2012-2042. Revenues from train fares are to be returned to BMA.
The third phase consists of two extensions, from Bearing to Keha and from Mo Chit to Khu Khot.