Bangkok’s plan to hire private companies to operate fleet of electric buses reviewed

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The committee examined the BMTA’s electric bus project and expressed concern that the state agency might reduce the number of buses from the original plan of 224 in order to circumvent a requirement that the project be reviewed by the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC).

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) has been instructed to consult with a government economic advisory panel before hiring private companies to operate a fleet of electric buses.

According to a report, the instruction was given by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House during a meeting of the State Enterprise Policy Committee last month.



The committee examined the BMTA’s electric bus project and expressed concern that the state agency might reduce the number of buses from the original plan of 224 in order to circumvent a requirement that the project be reviewed by the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC).

Originally, the BMTA intended to hire private companies to operate 400 electric buses, but the number was reduced to 224 and the budget was reduced to 953 million baht.


A BMTA representative, defending the project, stated that it was necessary to circumvent NESDC oversight in order to expedite the implementation of work and the launch of its services. In addition, the agency affirmed that there were no ulterior motives involved and that it will comply with all directives.

According to the representative, the organization intends to contract private companies to operate 2,511 electric buses. The number of buses would be divided into seven lots, with the first through sixth lots using 400 electric buses, and the final lot employing 111 buses.




If a state enterprise wishes to implement a 1 billion baht project, it is required by law to first seek NESDC approval.

The committee also requested that the ministry and BMTA keep the committee apprised of the restructuring’s progress. (NNT)