BRT improvements: Bangkok’s bus service to continue with 455 million baht funding boost

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

In a bid to enhance the current quality of public transportation in the capital, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has announced BRT improvement plans to continue the city’s bus service after the concession held by the Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) expires on the last day of August.

The BMA’s commitment to maintaining and improving the BRT service was affirmed by Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt during an interview with Isara News Agency. He highlighted the BMA’s intent to augment the frequency of bus stops and procure additional buses to boost commuter convenience.

The 57 year old governor, emphasising the operational gaps in the service, said…

“There’s an urgent need for improvements.”

Out of the 25 BRT buses currently under operation, only 10 are functional, leading to longer waiting periods, often up to fifteen minutes, for commuters to catch a ride.

The governor also drew attention to the frequent encroachments by private vehicles onto lanes designated for the BRT service, particularly during peak hours on Rama III Road. Such infringements cause significant delays in bus service delivery.

Therefore, the BMA plans to not only increase the frequency of the service but also incorporate additional BRT stops near pedestrian crossings. Emulating useful models from other countries, this initiative is seen to be largely effective in easing commuter access in South Korea, and the BMA hopes for similar positive outcomes in Bangkok. The city also anticipates introducing smaller, electricity-powered buses into the fleet, thus echoing global trends in sustainable city transportation, reported Bangkok Post. Chadchart added…

“We will not stop the BRT service. We will improve it.”

In the backdrop, a confidential BMA source revealed a budget allocation of US$13 million (455 million baht) for contracting a company to operate and maintain the BRT system. The BRT improvement plan includes hiring a workforce inclusive of cleaners and security personnel.

The source also indicated the BMA’s urgency in securing a new operator before the current contract terminates. As per the existing agreement, the BRT levies a fare of 15 baht for each of the 9,000 to 10,000 daily passengers, while the BTSC profits from advertising revenues. However, the lack of profitability has dissuaded BTSC from renewing its concession.

The existing BRT route spans 16 kilometres from Narathiwat Ratchanakharin Road to the Ratchada-Ratchaphruek intersection, ensuring connectivity to the BTS service at the Chong Nonsi and Talat Phlu stations.

Bangkok NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

Related Articles