Cabinet may have final say on bus plans
The cabinet will be asked to rule on the Transport Ministry's 111-billion-baht plan for the city bus agency to lease 6,000 NGV-fuelled buses, if a panel reviewing the scheme cannot reach a conclusion next week. Deputy Transport Minister Songsak Thongsri has said he doubts an agreement would be reached at the Aug 20 meeting of the review committee.
The panel was set up by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej after the scheme was rejected by the cabinet following strong opposition from some ministers, especially those from the Chart Thai party.
The panel is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart from Chart Thai.
Mr Songsak said he and Transport Minister Santi Promphat had discussed the scheme and agreed to refer it to the cabinet for a final decision.
''It is possible there will be no conclusion at the Aug 20 meeting. I guess the solution to this is to ask the cabinet to make a decision once and for all,'' said the deputy transport minister.
Mr Songsak also said the Transport Ministry is prepared to clarify in writing every point raised by the ministers who oppose the scheme.
He added that attempts are under way to reduce the number of new buses to be leased to 4,000 and have the existing buses modified to save costs.
Mr Songsak said the scheme could not be revised without compromising its remit to improve the services of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA), which runs city buses.A source at the Transport Ministry said Maj-Gen Sanan and Agriculture Minister Somsak Prissananantakul, also from Chart Thai, are likely to raise objections to the scheme at the Aug 20 meeting.
Both have suggested the BMTA modify its diesel-fuelled buses to enable them to run on natural gas, and cancel its plan to install a satellite tracking system on every new bus.
Wednesday August 13, 2008