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Govt moves to take over Bangkok Skytrain


May 6, 2008

Govt moves to take over Bangkok Skytrain

Thailand’s Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has endorsed the move to buy BTS Skytrain system with a view to facilitating the more effective management of Greater Bangkok's mass transit system, reported Thai News Agency.

According to the decision was made during a meeting of the Committee for the Development of Mass and Rail Transit last week chaired by Samak, a budget of 50 million baht would be allocated to the Finance Ministry to hire a financial advisor to conduct a feasibility study and assessment of assets and modalities of the takeover.

At this stage, the committee envisaged an investment of 56 billion baht to take over the BTS Skytrain which currently services the central business districts of Bangkok. Several more lines are planned to extend the coverage of the service to the suburbs and provinces around Bangkok.

Premier Samak believes it is easier to manage the overall system under single ownership. The prime minister reportedly told the committee that the feasibility study will ensure maximum efficiency, as well as
transparency and accountability in the move to take over the BTS Skytrain.

The Public Debt Management Office of the Finance Ministry estimates that the takeover will cost up to Bt56 billion, with nearly 90 per cent of the sum earmarked to purchase debts from creditors and the remainder for the purchase of BTS shares.

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