Skytrain concession extension put on hold following Bhumjaithai’s no-show
The cabinet has put on hold the Interior Ministry’s proposed 30-year extension of the concession contract of the BTS Skytrain Green Line system, between the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), the project’s owner, and BTS Group Holdings, the operator of the Skytrain, Deputy Government Spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek said today (Wednesday).
The decision, the fourth time a cabinet deliberation has been delayed, came after seven ministers of the Bhumjaithai party, including party leader, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, did not attend the cabinet meeting yesterday claiming that it was “inconvenient” for them to discuss the issue.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said today that he does not think there is a conflict with the Bhumjaithai party, saying that every minister has his or her view and that he is ready to listen to all their opinions.
He insisted that the government will make a decision on this issue based primarily on the public interest and that the decision must not lead to additional public borrowing.
“This is what the government must do,” he said, adding that the final decision rests with the cabinet.
Saksayam said the Transport Ministry has already submitted its objection, to the Interior Ministry’s proposal, to the secretary-general of the Cabinet, along with some additional observations.
He also pointed out that the Bhumjaithai party is against the capping of the maximum train fare at 65 baht for the entire route which, he said, is unfair to the commuters and can be reduced.
The MRT is under the supervision of the Transport Ministry while the BMA is under the Interior Ministry.