A section of the Green Line rail route, linking Soi Bearing and Samrong stations, due to be launched on April 1, risks delay as authorities struggle over budgetary issues.
The two stations are part of the Green Line extension project that runs from Soi Bearing in Bangkok’s southern outskirts to Samut Prakan. It is the new 12.8km elevated track that City Hall has taken over from the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand, which is building the route, but it needs to pay the MRTA several billion baht for the transfer.
“To run the service, talks are needed on the rent,” MRTA governor Peerayudh Singpatanakul said Wednesday, referring to money the city has to pay to his agency once it starts operating.
An MRTA source said the agency will ask the city to pay eight million baht a month but is uncertain an agreement on this rate will be reached.
The negotiations must be settled by the end of the month, but if no deal can be struck, services on this new section are likely to be postponed, the source said.
Earlier the rate was suggested at three million baht a month, but the MRTA board viewed that as “too low and does not correspond with the investment the MRTA has made”, the source added.
City Hall’s plan to take over the Green Line extension project, also known as the Southern Green Line, has been beset by trouble as it has faced budget constraints. Last month the Bangkok city council even told administrators to review the plan, rejecting the budget request.
In another development, the MRTA expects to ask the cabinet to approve its contract next month to hire BSR Joint Venture to build two new electric rail routes — the 30.4km Yellow Line from Lat Phrao to Samrong and the 34.5km Pink Line from Khae Rai to Min Buri, Mr Peerayudh said.
The construction costs of the Yellow and Pink lines are estimated at 51.9 billion baht and 53.5 billion baht respectively.