SRT given 1 week to avert station losses

SRT given 1 week to avert station losses

Minister rejects plan for Bang Sue rentals

A train is seen here on a trial run along a 15-kilometre section of the Red Line between Bang Sue and Rangsit. Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who inspected the stations along the line on Wednesday, said the route is expected to open in November. Chanat Katanyu
A train is seen here on a trial run along a 15-kilometre section of the Red Line between Bang Sue and Rangsit. Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who inspected the stations along the line on Wednesday, said the route is expected to open in November. Chanat Katanyu

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob is calling on the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to come up with a plan to generate at least 400 million baht a year from its management of the commercial space at Bang Sue grand station.

The figure relates to the station’s 298,200-square-metre commercial space and the minister wants it raised each year until until 2024 when a bid will be held to find a private operator to run the entire area.

The SRT will continue to manage the space until then and Mr Saksayam has voiced his displeasure at the SRT’s current plan, which Mr Saksayam said was a “loss maker”.

The cost of managing the space until 2024 is estimated to be 1.4 billion baht while the projected income should be at least 400 million baht a year or 1.2 billion baht over the next three years, said the minister, still an overall loss of 200 million baht.

Mr Saksayam has ordered the SRT to revise its plan, insisting that management of the station’s commercial space must not end up becoming another financial burden for the government.

The SRT should not run up high losses on the space, he said by way of an ultimatum to the SRT.

Mr Saksayam ordered the revised plan be submitted within a week to Chayatham Phromsorn, permanent secretary for transport, before it is forwarded for ministerial approval.

In 2024, a private company will be selected to manage the space in a public-private partnership (PPP) investment arrangement.

Mr Saksayam said the SRT had to ensure the commercial space is profitable because more than 30 billion baht had been invested in developing Bang Sue grand station.

He also ordered that all Red Line stations be tidied up ahead the official test run of a new service in March.

The SRT has also been told to finalise its scheme to try and mitigate the impact of the planned closure of Hua Lamphong station on passengers who normally travel to it using community trains.

The transport permanent secretary has been assigned to find options for those passengers.