Private city bus operators want government to waive their 400 million baht debt

Seventy-five private bus operators providing bus service in Bangkok under the supervision of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority have asked the government to waive their 400 million baht debt owed to the state.

Mrs Pattharavadi Klomcharoon, chair of the city bus operators association, blamed the debt incurred by bus operators on confusion of the government's policy regarding the private bus operators.

Operations of the private bus operators are to be overhauled and their operating licenses to be suspended after the cabinet decided to transfer the responsibility to supervise their operations from BMTA to the Land Transport Department.

The 75 bus operators were given a briefing about the changes which are to take place from the switch of supervisory responsibility from BMTA to Land Transport Department.

Mr Cherdchai Sanansrisakorn, director of bus service, assured that private bus operators could carry on with their services even though their licenses are to be revoked. He said that he would propose the government to invoke Section 44 of the interim charter to temporarily renew the licenses of the bus operators after which new bidding will be called for those interested to operate city bus service on different routes.

Mr Cherdchai said he expected the restructuring process would take about two years after which the Land Transport Department would move on to reform the passenger van service.

Mrs Pattharavadi, meanwhile, expressed concern that up to 90 percent of the private bus operators would be forced to terminate their service if they are made to repay their debt within 2018.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)