BRT bus service to stop end of April

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will put an end to its only bus service from Sathorn to Ratchapreuk station at end of April after suffering a loss of 200 million baht a year.

The rapid bus service or officially called Bangkok Rapid Transit or BRT service operated on a special route was introduced in 2010.

The Bangkok BRT service covers a 15.9 km long route from BTS Chong Nonsi station (Sathorn) to Ratchapruek via Narathiwat Ratchanakharin and Rama 3 roads then crossing into Thonburi via the Rama 3 bridge for the final station.

The BRT route has a total of 12 stations.

Bangkok deputy governor Pol Maj Gen Amnuay Nimmano said although the BRT service was not 100% good or bad, it was the only rapid bus service that linked the sky train service or BTS at Chong Nonsi station, and runs on a special lane on the roads.

This prompted the majority of road users to resist the service, and on several occasions motorists drove on this special bus lane provided only for BRT service.

With other vehicles using the special bus lane, BRT buses therefore could not travel fast, but slowly, he said.

Because of the slow travel, the service is therefore unpopular, he said.

He said parts of its passengers are students and the aged who are given free rides.

This caused the BMA to suffer an accumulated loss of 200 baht a year, he said.

The Office of the Auditor-General has sent two notices urging the BMA to review and scrap the bus project with reason that it was not the business of the BMA, and that the project has ruined the fiscal disciplines of the Finance Ministry.

It also doesn't help to alleviate traffic jams or serves public interest, he said.

He said the BMA had invested over 1.5 billion baht in the bus project and operated at a loss of 200 million baht annually since the service was officially commenced in 2010 at the time when Mr Apirak Kosayothin was Bangkok governor.

With all these setbacks, the BMA decided to end the service when the bus contract expires end of April, he added.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)