NGV bus order faces opposition

Opponents of the plan to buy 3,183 natural gas-fuelled city buses have called on the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to review it for alleged corruption.

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The “network of buses for the people”, a group bringing together councils which help handicapped and elderly people, said it has been monitoring the 13.1 billion baht project.

Initiated by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) under the previous government, they say large-scale corruption may have been involved.

Network chairman Phairot Wongwiphanon, former dean of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Economics, said the terms of reference for the purchase, prepared by the BMTA, lacks transparency.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) had raised questions about the price of the buses. The specifications of the vehicles are also unclear.

Of the 3,183 buses, 1,524 were air-conditioned and 1,659 were non-air conditioned buses. But the non-air conditioned buses have stairs which cannot be easily used by handicapped and elderly people. The network says the NACC had also asked how the median price for the buses were set.

Mr Phairot said the 13.1 billion baht project for acquiring both non-air con and air con buses does not include the cost of maintenance and spare parts. He said the network does not oppose the city buying new buses but wants the NCPO to make sure the purchase is aboveboard. 

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