BTS Skytrain demands 40 billion baht debt is paid

The BTS Skytrain, under the BTS Group Holdings Public Company, launched a video yesterday to demand their money back! BTS says the government owes them 40 billion baht and they want the debt paid.

The BTS revealed it intends to shame the government by airing the debt-collection message on every screen inside BTS trains and station platforms along Sukhumvit, or the Green Line, for the next 15 days.

This is the second time the BTS Skytrain operator released a video to remind the government to pay its debt. The first video was released in April of last year, the latest was launched yesterday, Monday, November 21.

Amarin TV reported that the 40 billion baht debt is divided into 20 billion baht for operation and management costs and 20 billion baht for the construction of the electricity and mechanical systems.

The debt-collection video features a speech given by BTS chief executive Keeree Kanjanapas. Keeree said…

“It’s been three years. The debt is 40 billion baht already. I have to pay my employees, pay the electricity costs, and everything else. The authorities must pay attention to this issue now. The interest increases every day. The authorities must think about the effects of this debt. The residents are affected. Taxes paid by people are useless. The authorities have to clear it. It has to be paid.

“I promised my passengers that the BTS would not stop operating. If it does, it will affect more than just me and a few politicians. People will be greatly impacted. I have to do this (demand payment of the debt), and I think my passengers understand me.”

The video was also launched on BTS’ Twitter page with some supporting words that said…

“How long can one person carry a debt…? We work but don’t get paid. Every day, the operating costs rise… Every authority takes no responsibility for the debt. No decision is made. Stop running away from the problem. Stop letting the private sector fight alone. It’s time to solve it. It’s time to pay the debt at 40 billion baht to the BTS Green Line. #payyourdebt.”

According to a report on Bangkok Biz News, the video will be on a loop at every train station and inside trains for 15 days starting yesterday.

Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt reported yesterday that it was unclear whether the contact between BTS and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) was covered by the Public-Private Partnership Act or not. The BMA said it is waiting for clarification from the Bangkok Metropolitan Council about the contract.

Chadchart said Bangkok was willing to pay the debt, but the debt must be processed under the law. If everything was in order and according to the law, Bangkok would be able to pay the debt right away.

The governor also talked about the new projects for two new train lines in Bangkok, the Gray Line (Watcharapon-Thong Lor) and Silver Line (Bang Na-Suvarnabhumi Airport). He said Bangkok wanted to process the projects for the residents but did not have enough money.

Bangkok is allocated a budget of about 80 billion baht per year, which covers everything from transport, urban planning, waste disposal and many other things.

The 56 year old city chief made known he wants the government to invest in train construction separately instead of asking him to take 20 billion baht out of his Bangkok budget for the train construction.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.