Samart Ratchapolsitte, who is also a former Democrat Party MP, posted on his Facebook page yesterday, saying there might be only a few private companies, or none at all, interested in bidding for the project by the November 7 deadline.
“This is because the private firms know this could make them a loss caused by a possible low number of passengers and prove unworthy of investment,” he said.
Also, he said private companies had seen the example of the Purple Line, which was costing the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) around Bt3.5 million a day.
Samart also said the Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc, an operator of BTS Skytrain, or Bangkok Express and Metro Plc, operator of MRT Blue Line and Purple Line, might not submit bidding documents to avoid a loss.
“Even if they both do nothing, the Pink Line project – in case of being constructed and run by another – will still feed passengers to the BTS Skytrain and MRT Blue Line,” he said, adding that this could make the two existing operators gain revenue by investing nothing.
The Pink Line project, which is under the process of seeking an operator, will run from Khae Rai to Min Buri ,passing 30 stations over a distance of 34.5 kilometres.
At the Khae Rai intersection, it will connect with the Purple Line, and at the other end will connect with the Orange Line (Culture Centre-Minburi). The Pink Line will also connect with other lines such as the Red Line (Bang Sue-Rangsit) and Green Line (Mo Chit-Saphan Mai).
The cost of the project is estimated at Bt53.49 billion. The construction time frame was set for three years and three months from now, to be completed by the end of 2020.
Samart suggested the government should put off the Pink Line if the MRTA cannot find any private company to put up the investment, so that the authority would not have to invest in the entire project as with the Purple Line.