BMTA hopes to extend free-buses

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority will seek to extend the state-funded fare-free bus scheme after running up a loss of nearly 80 million baht due to anti-government rallies.

BMTA acting chief Naret Bunpiam said if the project continues, it will help ease the losses faced by the BMTA. The project is to expire on March 31.

The debt-ridden BMTA is facing new financial woes after anti-government protesters took to the streets late last year. The so-called shutdown campaign by the protesters since Jan 13 has caused the agency to lose daily revenue of 2.7 million baht.

However, the BMTA has managed its liquidity as it obtains subsidies from the free bus scheme and it also receives financial assistance through state enterprise subsidies.

Mr Naret said the project must be extended at least until the BMTA acquires a new fleet of natural gas-fuelled buses which will help it cut fuel costs.

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