BMTA undecided whether to take delivery of first lot of NGV buses or not

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The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) is undecided whether to accept the delivery of the first lot of Chinese-made NGV buses or not, as it is awaiting a ruling from the Office of the Attorney-General, BMTA director Surachai Iamvachirasakul said Friday.

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The bus supplier, Bestlin Group, won the bid to supply 489 NGV buses at a cost of over 3,000 million baht to BMTA, the city bus operator. The buses were supposed to be assembled in Malaysia with Malaysian local contents which will make the buses eligible for waiving import taxes under the ASEAN free trade area agreement. But it turned out that all the buses originated from China, fully-assembled, and they were diverted to Malaysia before being shipped into Laem Chabang deep-sea port to dupe Thai customs that they were assembled in Malaysia.

All the buses which arrived at the port were impounded until Bestlin Group paid import taxes and fines.

98 buses have already been released from Laem Chabang port and are now parked in a parking lot at the Metropolitan Rapid Transit in the Rama IX area, where they’ve been since January 12. Another shipment of 145 buses is expected soon.

Surachai said the inspection committee would decide whether BMTA should be allowed to take delivery of the first lot of buses or not in case the city bus operator wants the buses before there is a ruling from the OAG.

While a ruling from the OAG is still pending, he said the BMTA would start fitting the buses with GPS. (Thai PBS)