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Green-light for international bids on monorail in June


THE Cabinet yesterday approved two new straddle-type monorail projects for Bangkok - the Pink Line and Yellow Line - for a combined investment of Bt105.3 billion.

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International bids for the projects are expected to be invited in June.
Both projects would be under the consideration process of the public-private partnership (PPP) fast-track scheme, said Transport Minister Arkhom Tempittayapaisith after the Cabinet meeting.
The construction time frame was set for three years and three months from now, meaning the projects could be completed by the end of 2019.
The 29.1km Pink Line will run from Khae Rai to Min Buri with 30 stations. The project’s value is estimated at around Bt53.49 billion.
The 30km long Yellow Line will link Lat Phrao with Samrong, with 23 stations. The investment is estimated at about Bt51.81 billion.
Arkhom said the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) would set up a committee under Article 35 of the PPP law to invite private companies to participate in these projects.
“We expect the international bids for the two monorail projects to commence in three months from now,” said Arkhom.
Under the PPP projects, he said the government would be responsible for land expropriations, which were forecast at Bt6.85 billion for the Pink Line and Bt6.01 billion for the Yellow Line.
The private sector would be responsible for civil engineering work, signals and the rolling stock systems, as well as operations and maintenance.
Private firms that won the bidding would be awarded a 30-year term operating licence. However, they must take all risks – under the PPP Net Cost model – if the number of passengers is not as expected.
 
State subsidy
“The Cabinet also approved a state subsidy for civil engineering works capped at Bt20.14 billion for the Pink Line and Bt22.35 billion for the Yellow Line projects,” said Arkhom.
He added that the ministry was urged to speed up the two projects and kick-start the construction. As a result, completion could be earlier than the three years and three months expected.
Arkhom said interested private companies would submit their proposals based on the straddle-type monorail technology specified by the authority. The civil engineering construction would be in line with rail technology.
The ticket price is expected to start at Bt15 and plus Bt2.20 per km. 
The daily ridership for the Pink Line is estimated at 270,000 persons and the Yellow Line at 247,900 persons.
As for the Sino-Thai high-speed railway project, Arkhom said the government insisted on continuing the scheme under the framework of government-to-government cooperation. The 10th meeting was expected early next month.

Published : March 29, 2016

By : SASITHORN ONGDEE THE NATION