Ministry to Brief PM on Transport Projects’ Progress
The minister for transport, Sukampol Suwannathat, provided a report to the prime minister, on the development of the government’s campaign policies, under his ministry. Earlier this month, the minister expected that the cabinet will allow the procurement plan for NGV buses. Progress on the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) plan to procure 3,500 NGV-powered buses worth 13.7 billion will be studied in detail by the National Economic and Social Development Board, said the transport minister. After analysis, the plan will be submitted to the cabinet for consideration in the coming month. After approval, the new bus fleet will be ready for service in the next 18 months. NGV or Natural Gas Vehicle use liquefied natural gas or compressed as an alternative to fossil fuels. Thailand, like any other emerging economy, has been bearing the brunt of the spiking global oil prices.
In a bid to shield itself from such occurrences, has sought to look for viable alternative fuel sources, to safe guard the countries energy costs. NGV-powered buses have been one the proposed measures to manage transportation costs within the country, regardless on global oil prices. The transport minister indicated that one of the major factors, to support the integration of these buses into the Thailand transport industry, is due to the consistency of services provided by the NGV-powered buses during the recent floods in Bangkok and its vicinities, which eased the plights of denizens within the region, who were affected heavily by flooding activity. He indicated that in the event of future flooding activity, the NGV bus fleet will help to ensure that there are adequate transport services to commuters during the floods. BMTA offices with operations in all 8 zones, as well small scale bus operators will be allowed to bid for new NGV buses. In addition, there is also a plan to add 10 mass-transit rail lines worth 14 billion baht. The contracts have already been signed to connect Bearing Station and Samut Prakan via a green line. This over and above the plans of adding the Khae Rai-Min Buri pink line and a yellow line Ladphrao-Samrong.