Skytrain finally attracts 300,000 passengers
Bangkok Post, December 3, 2001, by Supoj Wancharoen
After nearly two years carrying less than half the planned number of passengers, the skytrain finally broke the 300,000-passenger mark on Friday.
The system carried 317,238 passengers on Nov 30, topping the previous peak of 285,000 on Oct 31, Loy Krathong day.
The operator, Bangkok Mass Transit System Corp, had planned on 400,000 travellers a day when it won the concession from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. Instead, it attracted only 150,000-160,000 passengers a day when it started operating in December 1999. Promotions have slowly boosted the figures.
The five busiest stations on Nov 30 were Siam Square (30,509 passengers), Onnuj (28,470), Mor Chit (28,035), Sala Daeng (22,212) and Prom Pong (21,788). The least popular stations were Sanam Pao (3,333), Saphan Khwai (4,522) and Ratchadamri (4,833).
The most travelled routes were Mor Chit to Siam, Victory Monument to Siam and Siam to Onnuj.
Sunday was the worst day, averaging about 140,000 trips, but the Silom walking street event on Nov 18 boosted volume by 20,000-30,000 passengers.
BMA Council detects a lie from the Traffic and Transportation Bureau concerning the Phaseecharoen Elevated Way/Skytrain Extension
Dailynews and Matichon Daily, November 29, 2001
Somchai Iam-Mongkhonsakul (member of the BMA Council from Thonburi District and the head of BMA Traffic-Transportation-City Planning-and-Sewage Draining Committee) told the press that the BMA Traffic and Transportation Bureau is constructing the 2nd section of Phassecharoen Elevated Way along Taksin - Phetkasem Road (a 6.1-km road belonging to the Department of Civil Works, Ministry of Interior) and the construction is 40% finished. Recently, BMA Traffic Bureau was readjusting the elevated way project to be a Skytrain extension by drilling pillars for skytrain rails. Those pillars cause confusion and misunderstanding to many people who think that those pillars must be part of the Taksin extension of the Skytrain even though BTSC and BMA have not finalized the procedure to handle the approved extension projects yet.
Even worse, the BMA Traffic and Transportation Bureau has issued false and distorted news to the press that those pillars are part of the Taksin extension of the Skytrain so as to syphon the BMA budget (i.e. Bangkokians' tax money) for the 2nd section of Phaseecharoen Elevated Way project to curry favor with private firms with vested interest (i.e. BTSC) without consulting with the BMA Council in the first place. Somchai insists that BMA must consult with the BMA Council first before readjusting the project, considered as an illegal and ill-willed distortion of the original intention of the project.
Somchai said that Phaseecharoen project was approved by BMA Council during the administration of Governor Bhijit Rattakul as a 2-channel elevated way which allows BMTA buses and vans to flow in both directions so as to solve the traffic problem in Thonburi. However, the BMA office decided to change the project into a Skytrain extension instead. This project requires at least three billion baht with strings attached for many budget years. The first section parallel with Phaseecharoen Canal was suspended due to heavy protests by local people and environmentalists.
Somchai also feel doubts if the readjustment without consultation with BMA Council would be subject to the Joint venture Act of 1992. Therefore, BMA Office must give an explanation to the BMA Council and Bangkokians on both sides of Chaophraya and explain how the project readjustment will have benefits to them. BMA Council would consult with lawyers before sending this issue to the Council of State (http://www.krisdika.go.th).
Comment from Thairath Daily - November 24, 2001: Hopewell 2?
by "Mr. Pingpong Head" (a columnist in Bangkok Traffic section)
If you go along Krung Thonburi road and Taksin-Phetkasem road up to the Rastchadaphisek intersection, you'll see lots of pillars and the half-finished concrete tracks upon which you can NOT find any constructed skytrain stations at all! That's very strange! I REALLY feel puzzled whether those pillars and tracks are for Skytrain or for the Phaseecharoen Elevated Way. If they are for an elevated way, where are the ramps allowing up to go up and down from the elevated way?
Even though it's likely it will be the western extension of the Skytrain to Thonburi, I have never heard of any negotiation between BMA and BTSC on the Taksin extension of Skytrain at all. BMA simply constructed the pillars without the consent from BTSC. If BTSC refuses to constructs the stations (for any reason), BMA's laying of the tracks, running the tracks to Thonburi, and the construction of those pillars will be useless and a big waste of taxpayers' money. Even worse, those abandoned pillars and tracks will become "Hopewell 2" and contribute to the sense of cynicism in the heart of Bangkokians.
BMA inspecting Phaseecharone Elevated Way for readjustment to a Skytrain route
Matichon Daily, November 22, 2001
Praphon Wongwichian (Director of BMA Department of Traffic and Transportation - http://22.214.171.124/office/dotat/menu_home1.html) has told the press about the progress of Phaseecharoen Elevated Road and the 2nd branch that it is 40% done. There are 117 foundation pillars, 107 track pillars for elevated way, 88 concrete head supporting the tracks and 941.9-meter track box. This project goes along Taksing-Phetkasem Road which belongs to Public Works Department (http://www.pwd.go.th/) to minimize the land expropriation. So far, Public Works Department has transferred many section of Phaseecharoen Elevated Way and 2nd section to BMA even though the Public Works Department still holds 700-meters of the track (probably from Ratchadaphisek Inner Ring Road to Phetkasem Road).
Director Praphon said after the meeting with the mass transportation subcommittee that the subcommittee issued a resolution that BMA should readjust the Phaseecharoen elevated way and 2nd section to become the western section of the Skytrain. While the Public Works Department is dealing with the pillars from the foot of Taksin Bridge (Thonburi side) to Phetkasem, BMA is dealing with the bridges and connections from Saphan Taksin Station to the foot of Taksin Bridge (Thonburi Side) and the bridge across Phaseecharoen to connect with the southern extension of MRTA blue line at Phetkasem Road (Bang Wah) - with a total distance of 460 meter. BMA is following the resolution from the subcommittee by studying the structural design and readjustment. BMA will start the field study in early 2002.
Skytrain pins hopes on route extensions
Rejected plan would have eased debt
Bangkok Post, October 1, 2001, by Charoen Kittikanya [This article online.]
The skytrain operator, Bangkok Mass Transit Systems, has made little headway in efforts to restructure its debts totalling more than 30 billion baht, according to an executive at the company.
Of the total debt, 70% was lent by Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), the German development bank, and the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank's investment arm. The rest was borrowed from Siam Commercial Bank.
The skytrain cost more than 53 billion baht to build, of which 30 billion was borrowed.
Anat Arbhabhirama, an adviser to the BTSC board of directors, said earlier that the company would make every effort to win the creditors' support, either through debt-to-equity conversion, debt rescheduling or a loss on investment.
Under the original loan contract, BTSC will begin paying the principal next year. All the debt is to be repaid by 2008. But after about 20 months in service, the skytrain's financial performance has been disappointing, mainly due to a big shortfall in the number of commuters.
Originally, the company projected 400,000 passengers a day, generating enough revenue to cover its operating costs and interest payments. But with only 220,000 passengers a day on average, BTSC can afford to pay only for its daily operations, such as salaries, electricity and maintenance.
BTSC earns between four million and five million baht a day from fares, up from three million a year ago.
A state panel's rejection of BTSC's proposal to extend the system would complicate the debt revamp, said an analyst at Yuanta Securities.
The panel said the proposal was out of line with a Cabinet decision. The Cabinet wanted the system extended on three fronts: three kilometres from Sathon to Phetkasem, eight km from Onnuj to Samrong and eight km from Chong Nonsi to Rama III Road, but BTSC wanted to expand only two routes: Sathon to Phetkasem and Onnuj to Samrong.
Through the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the project owner, the company had asked the state to invest in civil construction. However, the Cabinet, wanted the firm to bear all investment costs.
The analyst said BTSC was likely to run into more financial trouble if the expansion was delayed, as the extended routes would serve more commuters. BTSC expected the two routes would increase the total passenger volume to about 400,000 people a day.
However, whether the system would be expanded now awaited the final decision by Bangkok governor Samak Sundaravej, the analyst said.
BTSC Investment Plan for the Extensions Going Against Cabinet Resolution
Thairath Daily, September 27, 2001
Mr. Khiri Kanchanaphak (BTSC CEO) said the Investment plan for the Skytrain extensions would be:
1. A joint venture between the public and private sector. The government has to shoulder all the construction costs while BTSC will provide the new rolling stock, maintenance systems, and employees--identical conditions to the MRTA subway contract.
2. Only the first two extensions (Taksin and Samrong Extension) will be constructed. Rama III extensions will be frozen until the first two extensions are opened for service.
BTSC is negotiating with the creditors to finance the extensions.
After City Hall received the investment plan from BTSC, Pol. 2nd Lt. Kriangsak Lohachara (BMA City Clerk) said the BTSC investment plan was clearly going against the cabinet resolution since the resolution states:
1. 100% private investment.
2. All 3 extensions must be constructed at the same time.
Nevertheless, BMA agrees with BTSC that it is next to impossible to to force BTSC to make a 100% private investment due to the fact that the country is still in recession. Private sector investment from the company other than BTSC will cause even worse problems since the new company will need to construct new entrances and exits connecting with the original sections. Therefore, the discussion between BTSC and the joint venture committee in this October is a must. The joint venture committee consists of representatives from NESDB, MOF, MOI - headed by BMA City Clerk.
Commentary: If BTSC wants a joint venture, it will be necessary for Mr. Khiree and company to lobby Premier Thaksin and his cabinet so that the cabinet will come up with a resolution overriding the old one from (previous PM) Chuan. However, it will definitely have strings attached.
City suggests longer route
Elevated road can be transformed
Bangkok Post, July-August, 2001
The city administration has agreed to transform an elevated road project into a skytrain extension route to serve Thon Buri. Targeted for the change is the two-lane Klong Phasi Charoen elevated road designed during the term of former Bangkok governor Bhichit Rattakul to serve high-occupancy vehicles such as passenger buses and cars with at least three people. The road project was designed to run along Klong Phasi Charoen for 12km from Kanchanapisek road to the Phetkasem area. The Office of the Commission for the Management of Land Traffic initiated the change to serve mass transit.
Under the change, the skytrain system will run along half of the route, for 6km from Phetkasem road via Klong Bang Khun Thien, Therd Thai road, Wong Wian Yai-Mahachai railway track, Ratchadapisek road, Taksin road and Krung Thon Buri road to Sathorn bridge. The change is possible because road construction started late last year and has made only 10% progress instead of the scheduled 46%. Implementation was delayed by the slow handover of construction areas affected by the nearby Taksin-Phetkasem road project of the Public Works Department.
Bangkok deputy governor Sahas Bunditkul said yesterday the city administration would not have budget problems in changing the elevated road project to serve the skytrain system. Mr Sahas said it would be easy for Bangkok Mass Transit System Corp to find a source of funding for the laying of tracks and building of stations because the city would pay for the civil engineering work.
In the meantime, the city would terminate the other half of the Klong Phasi Charoen road project as its design failed an environmental impact assessment, Mr Sahas said. Kumropluk Suraswadi, deputy director of the Megaprojects Office, said the change would also bring a new rail terminus in Thon Buri as the extended skytrain route would meet the new Mae Klong railway track. The new terminus would facilitate transport to China, Burma and Malaysia in addition to the only terminus at Hua Lampong, he said.
Also, the skytrain system would benefit from the change because of commuters on the Thon Buri side. The current demand for the skytrain system in Thon Buri was about 70,000 people daily, he said.
Wallop Rungkitworasathien, deputy managing director of Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Co, contractor for the Klong Phasi Charoen road project, said he would have no problem with the change. If cabinet agrees with the change, the already-endorsed skytrain extension from Sathorn to Taksin road could go further to Phetkasem.
Asking for police to supervise areas around the Skytrain stations
Dailynews, June 15, 2001
The areas under Skytrain Stations may be dangerous, so BTS is asking for Traffic Police to be stationed close to the stations to prevent crime. Pol. Maj. Gen. Boriboon Wutthiphakdee (Deputy Commander of Metropolitan Police HQ) said Dr. Anat Abhabhirom (a Consultant of BTSC Board) asked for the cooperation from the Traffic Police to send patrols to help the police stationed close to Skytrain stations. So far, the local police and the 191 patrols have sent police to mediate bad situations. However, police are in short supply and they have lots of duties to handle which have dragged the security processes down. So far, there have been no serious crimes against Skytrain passengers. However many passengers file complains about beggars, street urchins, hawkers, hidden strangers such as perverts who look up miniskirts, and even grabbers who sexually harass young ladies who travel alone at night.
Revealing Three Thonburi Districts for the new Southern Bangkok City
Siam Turakij, Vol. 7 No. 337, May 27-June 2, 2001
BMA is revealing the New Southern Bangkok City (comprising 3700 rai) on both sides of Taksin-Phetkasem Rd., Wutthakart, and Ratchadaphisek Inner Ring Roads for a trading center, offices, condominiums, and real estate development to feed the Southern Bangkok Transportation Network. A study said the project must be started by 2002 by buying and expropriating the land plots before speculators came to hoard the land. BMA is aiming to buy the orchards around Wat Nangchee Canal, Suan Liab canal, Ta Phaeng canal and Wat Kho Non to become a Western Bangkok Bureaucrat Office to attract people in Thonburi.
BMA hired KTT Co. Ltd. to study the plan to combine the three-district area around Thoedthai-Wutthakart Rd. (Thonburi, Jomthong, and Phaseecharone) as a Southern Bangkok Transportation Center for connecting the Skytrain (Taksin - Thonburi - Phetkasem), Subway (Hua Lamphong-Bang Wah-Bang Khae), Mae Klong Railway, and Hopewell together as well as the New Southern Bus Terminal. Such a center will spark land development and economic growth. To accomplish this, a study is being conducted about combining low-value land plots into valuable land plots though improvement in public utilities and investment which will result in a city within a city.
The 6-square-km area will be in the Phaseecharone District (parts of Bang Wah commune, Pak Klong commune), Jomthong District (Bang Kho commune, Jomthong commune), and Thonburi District (Bukkhalo commune and Sam Reh commune).
The boundaries of the area will be as follows:
1) The northern border will run from the gate of Phetkasem Soi 33/2 to the gate of Phetkasem Soi 25/5 and then go across the road to go through Phetkasem Soi 36 (which will become Phetkasem-Talingchan Rd in the future) to Bang Chak canal and go along the canal to the end of Phetkasem Soi 32. After that, going along Phetkasem 32 to Phetkasem 25/1 until it reaches the intersection between Nang Chee canal and Phatthanakarn Rd. After than, going along Nang Chee canal and Bang Khun Thian canal before intersecting with Thoedthai Rd. (Soi 37 to Soi 21 - near Wat Pho Nimit and Talad Ploo Station).
2) The eastern border will go from Thoedthai Soi 21 to the end of Ratchada-Tha Phra Soi 11 before going along Ratchada-Tha Phra Soi 11 to Rathdaphisek Inner Ring Road. After that, going along a private road (probably by Soi Wat Bang Sakae Nok) and then turning left to go along Bang Sakae canal to reach Soi Lert Phatthana Nuea.
3) The southern border will go along Soi Lert Phatthana Nuea to Jomthong Road and then go along the road to Soi Wisutthijit before going along Rang Bua canal.
4) The western border will go along Rang Bua canal to reach Yai Sai canal and then Bang Wah canal and end up at Phetkasem Soi 33/2.
There will be three main spots for the construction of Southern Bangkok Transportation Center such as:
1) Taksin-Phetkasem Road intersecting with Ratchadaphisek Inner Ring Road (near the gate of Ratchada-Tha Phra Soi 7) to connect the Skytrain with Mae Klong Railway Line and Wutthakart Road (Soi 12-18 and Soi 9-21) which will be the place where the New Southern Bus Terminal will be constructed. Such development will turn the area from Thoead Thai Soi 21 to Bang Khun Tian canal and the area from Wutthakart Soi 2 to the New Southern Bus Terminal to become golden areas since such area will be designated to be a commercial center area. At the same time, the southern part of Taksin-Phetkasem road around Wutthakart Soi 24-30 and Ratchada-Tha Phra Soi 11 will become a commercial center.
2) The 8.2 km AND the area near the intersection between Phetkasem Rd. and Taksin-Phetkasem Rd. at the bank of Wat Pradoo canal will be a commercial area, with the construction of a 8.2-km road to connect Wat Nakhon In Road.
3) The southern section of Taksin-Phetkasem Rd. (e.g. Suan Liab canal, Kha Phaeng canal, Wat Kho Nom canal) and the northern part of Phertkasem road to Wat Nang Chee canal will become an office and bureaucratic area. So far, such areas are in agricultural areas, easy to be collected by BMA and other government offices for development. This section will be the first target since this section consists of fruit orchards and trees, with a size of each plot of 1-5 rai or more. There will be a construction of two roads with four lanes - Ngor 1 Rd. from Rang Bua canal to the southern part of Taksin-Phetkasem Rd. via Bang Wah canal, Wat Kho Non canal, and Suan Liab canal. Nogr 2 will start from Taksin-Phetkasem Rd. to Jomthong Rd. via agricultural areas. Such roads will open areas for exploitation.
The Main Reason is the cheap price of land - 2000 baht a square wah (500 baht a square meter)
The study said that since the economic downturn in 1996, the market price of land was not very high, and it is a suitable time to collect the land. Therefore, BMA as well as other offices should allocate the budget to buy, rent, or expropriate the land to construct the transportation center. The land prices with no access to major streets is about 2000 baht per square wah while the areas next to the main streets are 110,000 baht per square wah [that's not a typo--it's 110,000 baht].
Start Collecting the land before Speculators
According to the masterplan for the Southern Bangkok Transportation center, the design of public utilities, and the expropriation plan for the construction of public utilities must be done within five years (2002-2006) for the first phase and the center must be completed in 2011 to prevent the speculation.
The area around the center (Intersection between Ratchadaphisek Inner Ring Road and Taksin-Phetkasem Road) will be commercial area, with a department store, retail-wholesale shops, and commercial buildings which are already in that area. There should be some entertainment and trading activities such as a cineplex (cinema complex), food centers, restaurants, and park and ride facilities to attract more customers.
Business and offices will be located along Taksin-Phetkasem Road. The northern section will be close to Nang Chee canal while the Southern section will be close to Ta Phaeng and Suan Liab canal. The bureaucratic center and park will be next to the business and office area on Phatthanakarn Road, near the Interchange Station of Bang Wah in the west to facilitate the public service in the western side of Bangkok.
The new residential area will be distributed along the edge of the study area which is now in the fruit orchards with high potential to become a residential area to use the land to maximum utilization. The old residential area will be developed to maximize land utilities. At the same time, the area along Phaseecharoen canal and the areas near the old and important temples will be residential areas with conservation to preserve the environment and the culture of people living in the area.
Creditors Furious about BTSC's Dirty Contract with Siemens
"Stinking!" BTSC Making a Collusion Deal with "China" on Skytrain Extensions
Prachachart Thurakij (www.matichon.co.th) - 21-23 May 2001 Creditors of BTSC felt furious after finding that BTSC had paid Siemens five times higher than usual payment for maintenance. Therefore, creditors decide to hire a consultant company for investigation and found 18 amendments on the contract with Siemens. Furthermore, the bid calling for Skytrain extensions turned stinky since the contractors complained that BMA tries to show that everything is fine while colluding with BTSC and a Chinese company for the project. According to mass transit news sources sent to Prachachat Thurakij, the BTSC creditors have hired MTR Corporation (a consultant company with expertise in mass transit system business) to audit and investigate the contract between BTSC and Siemens (the company which takes charge of rolling stock and rail system) since they felt that BTSC has paid Siemens unusually higher that the price the company is supposed to pay. MRT Corporation has reported to BTSC creditors that the company has found that Siemens has broken every rule stated in the contracts and even worse Siemens committed several acts such as reducing checking for rail dilapidation by 50%, completing only 64% of other maintenance activities, and manipulating the calculation of maintenance costs during the five-year warrant period. Therefore after collecting information from many members of the BTSC Board and the investigation on the two contracts between BTSC and Siemens/Lincas signed in July 1995, MRT Corp. has proposed 18 rules to reduce the operating costs and increase the service efficiencies such as : - reviewing the overall operating indexation
- negotiating with Siemens to reduce maintenance fees
- cutting down the number of daily service
- stretching the waiting period from 5-6 minutes to 10 minutes
- negotiating with Siemens to hire engineers outside Thailand at the salary based upon the costs of living in Bangkok
If BTSC follows the 18 rules from the consultant company, it will save 650 million baht, and thus reduce loss, lower ticket fees, and so on. The suitable cost in the instruments for maintenance including with other maintenance costs will be 280 million baht/year for the first five years of operation (2000-2004). So far, the contracts state that BTSC has to pay 410 million baht/year to Siemens for maintenance At the beginning of the sixth year of service, BTSC will face the dilapidation of the equipment and rolling stock, so the company has to pay higher maintenance costs than the first five years. During the year 2000, BTSC had to pay 0.76 US$/km while Hong Kong Mass Transit System had to pay only 0.2-0.3 US$/km.
For the case of Skytrain extensions, the news sources from BMA City Hall said there are some irregularities in the bid-calling process. Even though the BMA selling the bid calling form from May 1 to May 22, BTSC and the high-level officers in the City Hall have colluded on the specifications to enable Shanghai Metro Construction Corporation (SMCC) to win the bid without competition. BMA is going to open the bid for Taksin and Samrong extension on July 30, 2001.
"According to the memorandum between Krungthep Thanakhom (KTT) and SMCC signed on March 21, 2001, KTT (AKA BMA) will have to take responsibility for the construction while SMCC will be a contractor before transfering to the BMA after finishing the construction with the supporting funds of US$ 300 million. Shanghai Municipal has approved the plan, but BTSC still deals with the concession. Further conditions will be settled by KTT and BTSC later on."
Shanghai Metro (SMCC) will take responsibility for the Samrong Extension (5 stations, 8.9 km) and Taksin extension (1 station, 2.2 km) with the construction cost of US$ 170 million.
The names of station can be shown as follows:
1) Bangchak (near the area between Sukhumvit 101)
2) Bang Na (near BITEC and Meteorology Dept.)
3) Samrong Nuea (near Sukhumvit 113 - Wat Dan Samrong)
4) Thepharak (near Thepharak Intersection)
5) Samrong Tai (near the Elephant Shrine - funded by the late Lek Viriyaphan -> the owner of Ancient City, Muang Boran Press, Viriya Insurance, Thonburi Automobile Assembly Co.Ltd. -> the agent of Daimler-Chrysler in Thailand, etc.)
1) Taksin (Taksin Intersection)
[Note: Why no more stations for the Taksin line? Prachachart Thurakij correspondents got information from BTSC that some stations will not be in the construction list due to the fact that there were so few passengers that it would not be worthy to construct them until the demand was high enough. The same thing happened to Sueksa Witthaya Station and Phaholyothin 11 Station (opposite the Government Saving Bank HQ) in the current BTSC station list.]
KTT will borrow from KFW (German KFW Bank, a BTSC Creditors) to finance the project after receiving a letter from KFW that the bank will lend KTT. If the loan from KFW cannot cover the expense, KTT will borrow from other financial institutions as well as issue bonds to ensure that the project will be done on time while SMCC has joined up with Siemens Transportation System to set up a group of companies to handle engineering and electrical system.
There are several persons who went to Shanhai to sign MOU with SMCC such as Mr. Sathian Wongwichian and Mr. Amorn Kitchawengkul (representatives from KTT) and Mr. Khiree Kanchanaphak (BTSC CEO) as a witness to contract signing, and four respresentatives from SMCC. However, such a contract signing was not reported to the BTSC Board at all so it causes some shareholders and creditors to feel furious on such a contract signing since the BTSC CEO did not mention the deal with SMCC to them at all.
Mr. Amorn Kitchawengkul (KTT CEO) said KTT is going to deal with the Skytrain extensions and the company has signed the memorandum with SMCC. He also said that the cost for civil work would be about 8-9 billion baht (about US$ 200 million).
For the bid selling, no private firm came to buy the bidding form at all and all the 11 companies said they have not received the invitation note from BMA to bid for the Skytrain extensions at all. It seems to the Prachachart Thurakij that the bidding for extension is a sham bidding to make the bidding looks clean and transparent. Furthermore, BTSC is going to have a discussion about Skytrain extensions with Premier Ju Rong Ji during the official visiting to Thailand on May 19-22.
In the case of Taksin extensions, it seems to me that those who live in Charoen Nakhon area will have to take a 2-baht ferry ride to Saphan Taksin Station since BTSC decides not to build a station at the foot of Sathon Bridge in Thonburi Side (Charone Nakhon). For the case of the Samrong extension, some stations will have to be skipped since they have so few potential passengers it would be much cheaper for the company to run feeder buses and take passengers to the nearest stations.
Hunting for the area around Thonburi to build the Southern Bangkok Terminal
Siamturakij Vol. 7 No. 336 May 20-26, 2001
Land Allocation Bureau: BMA is preparing to create the new "Southern Bangkok Terminal" on the 3,700 rai of land around Thoedthai-Wutthakart (Thonburi) to be a transportation hub for BTSC and MRTA which will cause the area to become another golden area. So far, the consultant company has delivered the final draft of the studies to BMA Land Allocation Bureau by the end of this month. After that, BMA will issue new laws to enable BMA to survey the land and then turn the land into a shopping center--a bureaucrat center--big resident area next to the transportation center after the expropriation, with a hope to start the initial phase in 2004.
Revealing the Thonburi Land Development Plan for Transportation Hub with "New City"
Mr. Nikhom Wairutchaphanit (Director of BMA Land Bureau) told Siam Turakij that BMA has hired Krungthep Thanakhom (KTT-the financial arm of BMA) as a consultant company to study the land accumulation for the development of Southern Bangkok Transportation Center in the area of 3,700 rai around Thoedthai-Wutthakart Road which will cover 3 districts of Thonburi (Thonburi, Jomthong, Phaseecharoen). The consultant company will deliver the study and the final draft for the land allocation of the project by the end of May 2001.
The Southern Bangkok Terminal will be a giant terminal to carry the traffic from the Skytrain extension (Taksin-Thoedthai-Phetkasem) and subway extension (Hua Lamphong-Tha Phra-Bang Khae), Mae Klong Railway, and Hopewell as well as a new Southern Bus Terminal since the land leasing of the Southern Bangkok Bus Terminal at Taling is going to expire soon and it's unlikely that the Transportation Co.Ltd is going to renew the land lease since the Talingchan area has become too congested and impossible to expand. Furthermore, there will be a few main streets around this area such as Taksin-Phetkasem (now in place), a connecting road from Taksin-Phetkasem Rd. to Western Section of Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road and (the now defunct) the elevated road along Phaseecharone Canal.
Golden Area "Thoedthai-Wutthakart" for Shopping Center-Bureaucrat Center-New Resident Area
When the transportation center is done, the area around the transportation center will become a golden area with high potential to become a new city within a city with a shopping center, government offices, office areas, transportation center, and park. The resident area will have apartments with a shape of a corn cob around the area.
The consultant company has proposed the development plan for Southern Bangkok Transportation Center as follows:
1) Demolishing the commercial and residential buildings around the Southern Bangkok Terminal Center as well as the Bang Wah Interchange Station to enable the expansion of the Transportation Center.
2) Development of the New City into a business office area and high-rise resident area. The area will receive public utilities according to the increasing demands and economic expansions.
3) Conservation and renovation of buildings in the area of long-term settlement. Such areas will receive less effect from the land development than the first two areas. Such conservation is for communities along the Phaseecharoen canal and the area around temples, mosques, churches, shrines, as well as historically significant buildings. Such area is suitable for conservation and renovation with land utilization regulation and building controls as well as public utilities.
Samak Supporting this Project without Reluctance - BMA to Issue 5 New Acts
Mr. Nikhom said after KKT sends the final report to the Land Allocation Bureau around early June, the bureau will deliver to it the City Hall to get approval from Governor Samak. Governor Samak initially has a policy to support this project for Skytrain extension and land development around Thonburi but this area still has some transportation problems, so it is necessary to have development plan. At the same time, BMA is planning to present one Royal Proclamation to enable BMA to survey the 6-square-km area (3750 rai) and check what area is right for expropriation and what area is right for land reallocation since BMA has no land for the development of the New City. Furthermore, BMA is planning to issue four new acts to be approved by the National Assembly such as the Land Development Act, New City Act, Land Allocation Act, and Exclusive Area Allocation Act to set up a new company joining with Private sectors to develop the land.
The office which will take charge of the land development will be either a Co. Ltd. (privately-owned company) or a PCL (Public Company Limited - having stock listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand ). The expropriated land will be handled by BMA. Land utilization will be controlled by the Land Allocation Law and Building Regulation. BMA may join with the private sector to finance the project.
The Land for Southern Bangkok Transportation Center Must Be Complete by 2004
Fear of the Land Bubble Created by Land Speculators
The land development for the New City must be done at the same time as the Southern Bangkok Transportation Center which is supposed to be done by 2004 to handle the Skytrain and subway extension. Such urgency is due to the economic recession that causes real estate development to be at low ebb. If BMA cannot speed up the project, there will be no space for development left. At the same time, land speculators will step up to hoard the land and shoot land prices sky-high. During the recession, land prices were pretty low, so it is the right time for land development as a new transportation center to ease traffic congestion around Thonburi and pull Thonburi back from disorder resulting from dearth of public utilities. In the past, some areas around Thoedthai-Wutthakart Rd. were under developed since they had no major roads at all, so about 1000 rai of land is agricultural area with very low prices by Bangkok standards. It is a good chance for land development for a transportation hub to boost land prices.
Commentary: 2004 is very fast for land development indeed! However, such a transportation center must have a public park since Thonburi people are also desperate for green areas. Some agricultural areas should be preserved to show how Bangkokians once lived. In the past, Bang NA used to be the best place to grow rice since the area was fertile, but the land development around the 50's and 60's along Sukhumvit Road erased many agricultural areas. Only a few little farms around Prawet area were spared. Such a hard lesson should NOT be repeated if possible. Areas along Phaseecharoen should be cleaned up to be free from pollution if possible.
Since the Southern Bangkok Transportation Center will require the demolition of many buildings, BMA should compensate those who live in the area at the fair prices or the problem of MRTA land will be repeated in Thonburi.
Expansion unlikely in near future - Potential investors show no interest
Bangkokpost May 25, 2001- Supoj Wancharoen
The expansion of the limited BTS electric train network to serve more Bangkok commuters is unlikely in the near future as no companies have expressed an investment interest. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), the project owner, invited contractors to buy bid terms for the expansion during May 1-22 but no company replied.
The offer was sent to 11 groups of contractors, that either developed or previously vied for electric train projects. They are the Aeromovel consortium, the Tanayong consortium and the Thai-German Bangkok Metro consortium that used to bid for the BTS train project; Bangkok Metro Co Ltd and the IIMRT group that vied for Bangkok's subway; and GEC Alsthom, Siemens, Ch Karnchang, Marubeni Corp, Italian-Thai Development and Adtranz that competed for a minor mass transit system on the Rama III route.
Deputy city clerk Mana Noppan said all the companies are aware that the expansion of the BTS train service, currently 23 kilometres long, would certainly be infeasible. The expansion is designed on three routes: eight kilometres from Onnuj to Samrong, three kilometres from Sathorn to Taksin and eight kilometres from Chong Nonsi to Rama III. It has been forecast to cost about 30 billion baht.
Mr Mana said: "As the cost is high, low fares will be impossible. This is unattractive to both commuters and investors. I don't know how creditors will like it but if I were one of them, I wouldn't easily lend to the project."The BMA will now have to determine if the government will invest in the network, or negotiate with the project's operator, the Bangkok Mass Transit System Corp (BTSC), to expand its own service, he said.
At present, BTS trains serve only 200,000 passengers a day, well below its expectation of 430,000 people. As a result, its returns only cover daily operating costs and not debt repayment. BTSC has launched fare discount promotions but these have only slightly increased traffic volumes. The company has just refinanced its debts, so it is difficult to find additional loans to cover its expansion.
Bangkok governor Samak Sundaravej has suggested the state issue bonds to raise money for the civil construction work of the expansion. BTSC applauded this idea, but no concrete progress has been made on the initiative.
ROUTE EXTENSIONS: Skytrain moving again
The Nation, May 19,2001, Nophakhun Limsamarnphun, Petcharee Luengutai
Chinese state firm to complete work, adding 6 stations and 10 km of track Shanghai Metro Construction Corp (SMCC), a Chinese state enterprise, is to come to the rescue of the debt-ridden Bangkok Transit System Co (BTSC) BTSC is struggling to cut a restructuring deal with creditors over a combined debt in excess of Bt30 billion. SMCC, which comes under the jurisdiction of Shanghai's city government, will shortly sign an agreement with Krungthep Thanakom, a company controlled by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, to extend BTSC's 20-kilometre skytrain system.
The extension will add eight kilometres and five stations to the Sukhumvit route, with the Silom line being extended by two kilometres and one station. According to a March 21 agreement signed with Krungthep Thanakom, SMCC has committed to investing upwards of US$300 million (Bt13.65 billion) in the BTS-extension. SMCC is also negotiating with Siemens Transportation System of Germany to form a consortium to implement the electrical and mechanical works.
A source said BTSC would not be investing in the project since it was still burdened with heavy debts. It owes Bt10 billion to domestic creditors and $550 million to foreign creditors. The source said five out of the eight bank-syndicate creditors had already agreed to the debt-restructuring plan. A conclusion was expected at the end of this month, provided state-owned financial institutions such as BankThai accepted the plan.
As concessionaire of the existing 20-kilometre skytrain system, BTSC will benefit directly from the extensions. The current system does not reach enough of the city's residents, attracting only 240,000 commuters per day. The original projection required 600,000 customers in order to turn a profit for BTSC during its concession period. The BTS skytrain has been losing money since the service began in December 1999. The extension of both the Sukhumvit and Silom routes by a total of 10 kilometres will allow the skytrain to serve commuters from Samrong, Samut Prakan and nearby areas, as well as residents from the Thonburi side of Bangkok.
The source said that BTSC would have to negotiate a revenue-sharing scheme with the investors responsible for the extension project. The Silom extension, crossing the river to Thonburi, provides better income prospects than the Sukhumvit extension to Samrong, where residents have lower incomes. The BMA also plans to extend the system towards Chaeng Wattana in northern Bangkok. The BTS extension deal is separate to the agreement with the Chinese authorities to build a community train system. This agreement will be signed during Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji's visit to Bangkok, which begins today.
Premier Ju Rong Ji Declines Samak's Proposals for $2 Billion Skytrain
Dailynews, May 22, 2001
Premier Ju Rong Ji declines to invest in the US$ 2 billion Bangkok Ring Skytrain, but Governor Samak boasts that other countries are still waiting to negotiate. The private sector will have to invest in the entire project since BMA does not have enough resources to deal with it. BTSC has already received a loan from China for Skytrain extension.
At 0900 of May 21, 2001, Governor Samak, Deputy Governor Sahat, and City Clerk Pol. 2nd Lt. Kriangsak came to see Premier Ju Rong Ji of PRC at Shangri-La Hotel (a 5-star hotel next to Saphan Taksin Station) to discuss the Bangkok Ring Skytrain Project. After the discussion, Governor Samak said he told Premier Ju about the US$ 2 billion project which is now in the stage of route survey by China Railways Construction which will be completed in the next two months. BMA wants China to invest in the construction part while BMA will invest in services and pay back the revenue to PRC Government. Premier Ju responded to Governor Samak's request that "Such a project is a megaproject which PRC Government cannot invest in. Nevertheless, PRC government will help BMA by sending companies to bid on the project." Therefore, Governor Samak said he had to review the project, but still insisted that the private sectors from foreign countries who want to invest in the Bangkok Ring Skytrain will have to invest 100% and BMA will pay back later on, but BMA will help by a 5-year zero-percent interest on loans, and low interest rates during the payback periods (probably around 40-50 years). So far, countries such as France are going to deal with the project if China declines to do so.
Regarding the Skytrain extensions, Governor Samak said Mr. Khiree (BTSC CEO) has reported to him that Shanghai Metro Construction Company (SMCC), is willing to grant a loan with a credit line of US$ 175 million, with Krongthep Thanakhom Co.Ltd. (KTT) and German KFW Bank (one of BTSC Creditors) as the underwriters. However, a condition set by KFW Bank is that BTSC must make a contract with Siemens (Thailand) Co.Ltd. (www.siemens.co.th) to construct the routes and supply rolling stock which is not a problem for BTSC at all since Siemens has already dealt with BTSC.
Commentary: Since it appears Samak's ring road project is not going to receive funding, it is much better to let MRTA construct the Ratchada Ring Subway (an extension of the MRTA Blue Line Subway) since we can afford only a ring mass transit at the time being. Nevertheless, BTSC and BMA can join with MRTA to build the elevated sections of the Ratchada Ring Subway which can connect the Skytrain and subway to use the same rails since BTSC has expertise on such sections. BMTA buses, Microbus, and BMA van service can cover the sections along the Bangkok Ring Skytrain for the time being.
Changing the Elevated Way into the Skytrain Extension Requires a New Environmental Study
Dailynews, May 22, 2001
BMA is preparing to readjust the second section of the Phaseecharoen Elevated Road into a new Skytrain extension from Taksin to Phetkasem, so BMA is going to do an environmental study assessment to comply with the 1992 Joint Venture Act. If everything goes as planned, service to Phetkasem will start in 2002.
Deputy City Clerk Mana Noppan said he is going to call on Sino-Thai Co. Ltd. (one of the well-known construction companies) to discuss the plan to readjust the second section of Phasecharoen Elevated Road from Taksin Bridge to Wat Ang Kaeo (6 km) into a new extension of Skytrain since the elevated road project cannot be conceived as the route from Phetkasem to Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road due to the fact that many local people and environmentalist have opposed the project.
The deputy city clerk said that OCMLT has proposed a plan to extend the Skytrain to Phetkasem Road (National Highway No.4) to connect with the MRTA Blue Line subway. Therefore, BMA has to speed up the readjustment project without delay. There is no budget problem to deal with this readjustment project since the leftover structure is a two-way road which is similar to the Skytrain, so BMA and BTSC can simply put double tracks on the structure and then install the power rails and then let the Skytrain rolling stocks run. However, BMA must speed up the study and the assessment on the environmental impact first and follow the guidelines from the 1992 Joint Venture Act. The study will be done by the end of this year. After that, BMA will have to discuss with BTSC the way to run Skytrain service on this extension since BTSC will does not have to invest on the track construction at all. If everything goes as planned, this extension will be in service by the end of 2002.
Commentary: Since BTSC has already received the loan from SMCC, it would be very nice to dispose of the leftover loan after finishing the construction of Taksin and Samrong extensions (Saphan Taksin-Taksin Intersection and Onnut-Samrong Tai) if they have some money left. Otherwise, BTSC will need to negotiate with SMCC and KFW Bank to extend the credit line to cover this new extension (Taksin Intersection - Phetkasem [AKA Bang Wah]). I expect that the creditors will grant a further credit line without delay since such extensions will pick up more passengers from Thonburi. I think that BTSC will definitely readjust the feeder buses (the free ones and the paid ones) to cover the new areas.
EDITORIAL : BMA train plan is off the rails
The Nation, May 22, 2001
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has come up with another innovative scheme to improve commuter transport. BMA Governor Samak Sundaravej has proposed that the Chinese government get involved in an 80-kilometre train service that will bring commuters in the suburban areas to the city centre. Should Bangkok residents hail this initiative? One of the problems which has plagued Bangkok's infrastructure management is that new projects are thought of, and executed, on top of one another. A new commuter-train project may be a burden rather than a solution to the city's notorious traffic.
So far no government, including the present one led by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has wanted to get to the heart of the matter, which is to realign the scattered and inefficient city transport under one umbrella and make it work.
The Management of Road Traffic Commission (MRTC), which is supposed to be in charge of the development of transport services, has remained a paper tiger. It has not been given the mandate to prioritise projects that would be efficient and cost-effective for the city taxpayers and commuters.
Bangkok Transit Co, the operator of the city's first elevated-train service, is the responsibility of the BMA. The subway project comes under the Metropolitan Rapid Transit Authority, a PM's Office responsibility. The Bangkok expressway is under the control of the Express Transit Authority, which comes under the Interior Ministry. The aborted Hopewell project is in the hands of the State Railways of Thailand, which is supervised by the Transport and Communications Ministry.
To anyone living in Bangkok, such a variety of agencies is a source of problems which have beset the city's transport planning. Bangkok residents have grown tired of empty promises of politicians to bring these responsibilities under one roof. And if the new government wants to do the city residents a big favour, it should hold a workshop on city transport services and make the necessary decisions and legal changes to bring them under one umbrella.
Without it, a project such as Samak has proposed is pointless. Even if it has merit, it would only add to the city's investment burden, and the government's, and not efficiently align with the other existing projects. It is also pertinent to note that such projects have a high import content, which does not bode well considering the BTS and the subway project already have an uncertain financial outlook. If the BMA decides to issue bonds to finance its suggested project, a financial feasibility is critical to ensure that the city authority does not fall into a debt trap and sink along with its mega-spending.
The city infrastructure development ought to become one of the prime minister's workshop topics. He is not unfamiliar with the matter, having once been a deputy prime minister in charge of the MRTC. Back in 1997 he made his famous pledge to improve the city's traffic within six months. He failed in that task but along the way picked up valuable experience that could be used to improve the situation.
One of the ruling Thai Rak Thai Party's clearest policies is not to spend too much of the country's budget in urban areas to allow the rural sector a fairer share of development money. This means that Bangkok should be better run and infrastructure development made more efficient and cost-effective. It is not an exaggeration to say that a healthy capital city also means a windfall for the other parts of the country. This is particular true for a one-city nation such as Thailand or Japan.
So new projects for Bangkok, whether they come from the BMA or the government, should be put on the back burner until the existing ones are coordinated under one roof and one unified command. This is to ensure that there is a priority on development and spending and the routes are linked for the benefit of the commuter in a viable and cost-effective way.
Commentary: I could not agree more with the Editor of the Nation. However, the Nation should take into account that the mass transit in many cities around the world initially were (and still are in some cities such as Tokyo and Seoul) separate companies. It took about 60-70 years to unify the New York subway into a single unit. We have never had the first-hand experience like those in the cities around the world, so the lesson is bound to repeat anyway! Don't forget that MRTA will be the one that holds the services of the mass transit line separate for government offices after the concessions expire in the next 40-50 years.
BMA Traffic and Transportation Bureau calling three separate private bids on three skytrain extensions
Thairath Daily, May 3, 2001
Chaiyut Na Nagara (Director of BMA Traffic and Transportation Bureau) is going to invite the groups which won the mass transit concession or participated in the concession bidding such as BTSC, MRTA and the companies in the BMA preliminary list for tram along Chong Nonsee canal to send the BTO plan (BTO-Build, Transfer and Operate) for the civil work, rolling stock, electro-mechanical system, maintenance, services for three Skytrain extensions which are as follows:
1) Extension along Silom-Taksin Road (Taksin Extension -> Saphan Taksin - Wongwian Yai) with a distance of 2.2 km
2) Extension along Sukhumvit Road (Samrong Extension -> Onnut - Samrong) with a distance of 8.9 km and
3) Extension along Rama III Inner Ring Road (Rama III Extension -> S3 Station [AKA Chong Nonsee Sation] - Sadhupradit Road) with a distance of 8.5 km
Total distance will be 19.6 km and the concession will be 30 years, the construction time not included.
The companies that feel interested to invest on these extensions can buy a bidding form with a price of 150,000 baht for each copy or they can call or mail for further details at :
Office of Secretariat
BMA Traffic and Transportation Bureau
44, Vibhavadee-Rangsit Highway, Dindaeng
Bangkok, Bangkok, 10400
The invitation is starting from May 1-22, during the weekdays and office hour (Monday to Friday from 8:30AM to 4:30PM)
From a Flyer at Chong Nonsee Station (two feeder busses we did not know about before):
BTS Feeder Bus No. 162 - Port Authority of Thailand Circle (Long)
Port Authority of Thailand, Sunthornkosa Rd., Rama III Inner Ring Road, Narathiwat Ratchanakharin Rd., Chong Nonsee Station, Silom Rd., Saladaeng Station, Henri Dunant Rd., Siam Square, Siam Station, MBK Center, Chulalongkorn University, Sam Yan, Silom Rd., Narathiwat Ratchanakharin Rd., Chong Nonsee Station, Makro Superstore, Tesco Lotus (Sathon), Port Authority of Thailand
BTS Feeder Bus No. 162 - Special - Port Authority of Thailand Circle (Short)
Port Authority of Thailand, Sunthornkosa Rd., Rama III Inner Ring Road, Narathiwat Ratchanakharin Rd., Tesco Lotus (Sathon), Chong Nonsee Station,and u-turn at Surawongse Intersection to go back to Port Authority of Thailand through the same way.
5% increase for Skytrain passengers
Passengers complaining about high ticket prices
Thaipost Daily, April 27, 2001
BTSC approves a new via duct to Asia Hotel at Ratchathewee Station while delaying the plan for via duct at Ploen Chit Station since it requires a several-hundred-meter-long via duct. At the same time, BTSC boasts 5.8% increase in the number of passengers. However, many passengers were complaining about high ticket prices.
Mr. Arnut Abhabhirom (BTSC Committee Consultant) said the BTSC administration committee have approved the via duct construction connecting Ratchathewee Station with Asia Hotel, but the plan for a via duct connecting Ploenchit Station with Wave Press Building hasn't been approved yet due to a long distance (about a hundred meters long) which can interrupt the skytrain operation. Therefore, this section will needs to wait to see the result from other via ducts before approving it.
For the 2.2-km Taksin Extension and the 8.9-km Samrong Extension, BTSC have confirmed that the company is ready for investing on those extensions. However, BTSC is making a consideration on the negotiation results between BMA and other companies.
In March 2001 (summer holidays for students), the number of skytrain trip increased to a daily average of 192,630 trips--5.8% more than the average number of trips in February 2001. The weekdays have higher average number of passengers than the weekends (210,070 trips a day during weekdays). The highest number of passengers was on March 30, 2001 at 245,059 passengers. However, the ratio between those who use stored value tickets and one-way tickets is 50:50 -> lower than the standard level.
The top 5 stations for the number of passengers are Siam, Mochit, Onnut, Saladaeng, and Victory Monument - with the average of 44.5% of all passengers. So far, most of passenger travel about 7 stations. Now, the only problem is the delay at Saphan Taksin Station which takes 45 minutes. Nevertheless, there is no accident at all!
Mr. Arnut said "According to the poll of 400 passengers, BTSC found that those passenger give the average of 3.75 (out of 5). The lowest satisfaction is about the ticket fee and the highest satisfaction is about the skytrain service." BTSC will also add 10 more shuttle buses since the number of passengers has increased from 14,500 passengers a day to 16,500 passengers a day during weekdays and 17,900 passengers a day during the weekends. However, the total number of passengers is still at 200,000 passengers a day which is 400,000 lower than the target of 600,000 passengers a day.
BTSC is ready to find the financial resources to deal with the extensions
Calling a bid for extensions on June 30, 2001
Dailynews, April 27, 2001
BTSC feel bullish that they can find creditors to finance the extension project. The daily number of stations for each passenger is 7. There are 5 stations which have most of the passengers. The bid calling for extensions will start on June 30, 2001.
Mr. Arnut Abhabhirom (BTSC Committee Consultant) said after the BTSC Board meeting (attended by Mr. Sa-Ngad Bunditkul, Deputy BMA Governor) that the daily revenue is 5 million baht--enough to pay the salary for everybody and cover the operating costs and maintenance. However, the daily revenue is not enough to pay loan interest. The most popular stations are Mochit, Siam, Onnut, Saladaeng, and Victory Monument. Typical passengers pass 7 stations for each trip.
BTSC is asking for approval of the via duct construction to connect Asia Hotel and Wave Place to the Skytrain station, but the committee hasn't approved it yet. The company is ready for the 8.9-km Samrong extension and 2.2-km Taksin extension. The company expects no problem finding the financial resource to deal with extension projects even though the company is trying to find the financial institutions to deal with them.
Mr. Mana Nopphan (BMA Deputy City Clerk) said BMA will follow the Cabinet resolution to realize the extensions. BMA is preparing to call a new bid by inviting the former 11 groups to buy the bid calling forms from May 1-20, 2001 and then send the bid on June 30. After opening the bid, BMA will ask BTSC whether the company can accept the terms imposed by the winner. If BTSC accepts the terms, BTSC will sign the contract and construction begins. However, if BTSC cannot accept the terms imposed by the winner, the winner is going to deal with the extension project instead.
Commentary: It seems to me that BTSC will win the contract anyway since nobody can compete with BTSC. For the case of the Taksin extension, a new floor must be constructed in the same way as the Silom station of the subway to prevent a bottleneck at the Taksin Bridge. After passing Taksin Bridge, then skytrain stations will be at the same configuration as usual.
For the case of Samrong extension, the via duct to BITEC or feeder buses to BITEC are a must. And, if possible, the feeder bus to reach Thana City (a suburb village at Km15 of Bang Na-Bang Pakong Highway (Highway No.34) which belonged to Thanayong Group - the owner of BTSC). Thana City is at the mouth of the road to Suvannabhum Airport. At least this would help the suburb villagers a lot.
Skytrain Extension Financing
Manager Daily, April 4, 2001
For the 11-km Skytrain extension, BMA asks Krungthep Thanakhom Co.Ltd. (BMA financial manager) to negotiate with creditors to enable BTSC to obtain the loan with BMA as an underwriter to ensure steady debt payment. BMA will invest on civil work (80%) and BTSC will invest on tracks and rolling stocks.
BMA is Going to Bail Out BTSC to Realize the Extensions
Dailynews, April 5, 2001
BMA is going to bail BTSC out of ten billion baht of debt by ordering Krungthep Thanakhom to join with BTSC to borrow money for the 11 km Skytrain extension and propose the government to allow BMA to issue 100-billion baht bonds to finance extensions at the pillar and route sections. BTSC will merely invest on track laying and rolling stocks.
After the discussion with the original 11 companies who were competing for the Skytrain bid, BMA found that all of them declined to the bid invitation since they will never be able to compete with BTSC. Therefore, BMA will have to bail BTSC out of financial trouble by asking Krungthep Thanakhom Co.Ltd. (BMA Financial Manager) to be an underwriter of BTSC even though the BTSC will have to pay the debts alone. So far, the negotiation between BTSC and Krungthep Thanakhom and the creditor is going on. For the extensions, BTSC will have to deal with the 8.9-km Samrong extension (Onnut-Samrong Tai) and 2.2-km Taksin extension (Saphan Taksin-Wong Wian Yai).
As for the Lum Lookka, Mahachai and Bang Plee extensions, Mr. Samak will negotiate with Premier Thaksin and his cabinet to allow BMA to issue 100 billion-baht bonds to finance the project which BMA will be in charge of civil works (pillars, levels, other construction). BTSC will handle track laying and rolling stock. He expects the Mahachai, Lum Lookka, and Bang Plee project to be conceived in the next three years.
Building the Walkway Connecting Chatochak Weekend Market with Skytrain
Dailynews, April 9, 2001
BMA is going to construct a walkway with a moving belt connecting Chatuchak Weekend Market with Mochit Station to facilitate the movement to and from the stations.
Mr. Suphol Kaeosa-ard (Director of Chatuchak Weekend Market) said he has discussed with the managers and CEO of BTSC about the measures to facilitate those who go to Chatuchak Weekend Market. After the preliminary meeting, they came out with the idea of a 700-meter elevated walkway with a moving belt to go back and forth and end up at the tower clock inside the market. It will take 30-40 million baht to build. BTSC will handle construction and BMA (the owner of Chatuchak Weekend Market) gives the company a plot of land to construct it on.
Mr. Suphol said he will discuss with the company until the final plan and the date to start is finalized so he can propose the plan to the BMA and OCMLT to consider and get the budget approval. It would take 3 months to construct such a walkway since the steel structure of the walkway is the same as the one connecting the via duct to MBK Center - with pillars to support. The moving belts will be installed only at the stairways.
Proposal to Readjust the Phaseecharoen Elevated Way to be a Skytrain
Dailynews, April 10, 2001
The Press Correspondent at OCMLT said the upcoming Traffic Subcomittee meeting on April 12 headed by Mr. Pongphol Adireksarn (Duputy Premier and Minister of the Office of Prime Minister) will consider the readjustment plan for the 2nd stage of the Phasee Charoen Elevated Way (Sathon-Wat Ang Kaeo - 6.1 km) to become a Skytrain (Taksin extension) after the cabinet has approved this extension. This extension will also be extended from Wat Ang kaeo to Phetkasem Road (National Highway No. 4). If the subcommittee agrees with the plan, they will forward to the OCMLT committee to ask BMA to order the contractors to readjust the project. Eventually, OCMLT will ask the cabinet to approve the new Taksin extension from Sathon to Phetkasem.