Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has given the nod to the loss-ridden State Railway of Thailand’s (SRT) rehabilitation plan which should help accelerate the setting-up of a subsidiary to specifically manage and develop the SRT’s assets and eventually turn its business around.
Acting SRT governor Anon Luangboriboon said Gen Prayut, who chairs the State Enterprise Policy Commission, also known as the superboard, gave the green light to the rehabilitation plan during the meeting.
He said the proposed formation of a wholly owned subsidiary to manage its assets, which is part of the rehabilitation plan, is being considered by the superboard. If the superboard has no objections, it should be forwarded to the cabinet for approval by the end of March.
Mr Anon said that after its formation, the SRT will transfer part of its work to the new company whose first job will be to make the best commercial use of the SRT’s land plots nationwide.
The SRT has about 39,000 rai of land, including the 497-rai Makkasan plot, and it has already signed rental contracts with private companies for 15,000 rai, leaving the remainder undeveloped.
However, the acting governor said the meeting did not discuss fare hikes, adding that they are unlikely to be implemented soon.
However, he said the SRT had conducted a study comparing train, mass-transit and express passenger boat fares, which showed a gap as the SRT’s ticket prices have remained unchanged for three decades.
On the planned procurement of 100 diesel-electric locomotives worth 19.5 billion baht, he said the project has been submitted to the SRT’s board for acknowledgment while the draft terms of reference will be ready early next month.
In a separate development, Ekniti Nitithanprapas, director-general of the State Enterprise Policy Office, said the superboard has rejected rehabilitation plans submitted by the loss-making Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) and Thai Airways International.
He said the BMTA’s plan needs to include how the bus services and bus routes will supplement or connect with other mass-transit systems.
As for the national carrier, he said the airline has so far failed to meet its revenue target despite high passenger numbers compared with its main competitors.
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