BANGKOK (Metro Rail News): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed an agreement to provide a financial package of 9.9 billion Thai baht (equivalent to the US $311 million) for the construction and operation of the Yellow and Pink lines of Bangkok’s mass rapid transit (MRT) system.
Mr. Christopher Thieme, Deputy Director General of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department said that Bangkok is one of Southeast Asia’s global business hubs depends on relieving traffic congestion and increasing sustainable public transport services.
“ADB’s support will accelerate commercial financing for Thailand’s MRT sector and help to provide a better choice of affordable and efficient public transport rapidly growing population.”
“ADB’s involvement as a lender enhanced the overall bankability of the project by providing a long tenor repayment profile. It will provide more flexibility on cashflow management and help mitigate ridership risk at the opening stage of the project,” said Mr. Terence C. K. Kong Executive Director and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, BTS Group Holdings Public Company Limited. “This enables us to deliver a successful project and a public transport option that will be efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly.”
The agreement was signed by Mr. Thieme and Mr. Kong, at a ceremony in Bangkok. Senior officials from ADB and BTS Group Holdings Public Company Limited also attended the event.
ADB’s financing package is comprised of two B 4.95 billion loans to the Northern Bangkok Monorail Company Limited (NBM) and the Eastern Bangkok Monorail Company Limited (EBM) for the construction and operation of the two new lines. These will add to the five existing lines currently operating in Thailand’s capital area.
The Pink Line, under NBM, will operate between Min Buri district in Bangkok and Khae Rai in Nonthaburi province, with a total length of about 34.5 kilometers (km). EBM’s Yellow Line will operate between Lat Phrao in Bangkok and Samrong in Samut Prakan province with a total length of about 30 km.
Bangkok is famous for its heavy traffic congestion with some studies including it among the most congested cities in the world. The proportion of travelers using mass rapid transit as a share of total transit in Bangkok remains low as compared with peer cities. The number of private cars in Southeast Asia has more than doubled since 2000, and 30 million more passenger cars are expected to be added by 2040. The new lines will help cut down on air pollution from vehicles and greenhouse gas emissions while tackling traffic congestion.
NBM and EBM are special purpose vehicles established by BSR Joint Venture (BSR) to operate the Pink and Yellow MRT lines, respectively. BSR is a joint venture comprising BTS Group Holdings Public Company Limited, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Public Company Limited, and RATCH Group Public Company Limited.