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Bangkok’s Air-Conditioned Bus Saga: A Corporate Rollercoaster Unveils the City’s Commute Crisis

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Imagine this: it’s a typical sweltering day in bustling Bangkok, the kind where the sun seems to have a personal vendetta against humanity. Now, picture being able to glide through the city in a cool, air-conditioned bus. Sounds like bliss, right? Well, that dream was briefly interrupted in a saga that feels more like a corporate rollercoaster than public transit planning.

Deep within the corridors of the Transport Ministry, an official (who preferred to remain an enigmatic figure shrouded in mystery) unveiled a rather unexpected turn of events that occurred during a hush-hush Wednesday meeting. Picture the scene: the BMTA board, in what could only be described as a dramatic boardroom moment, approved a request by Cho Thavee Plc. This wasn’t just any request; it was one that would lead to the cancellation of a joint-venture maintenance contract with SCN-Cho Thavee, inked with high hopes and dreams of smooth commutes.

Why, you might ask, did Cho Thavee want to back out? Well, it turns out they were in a bit of a pickle. Despite their best efforts, the elusive spare parts needed to repair the fleet of 489 NGV air-conditioned buses remained just that – elusive. These weren’t just any buses; they were the chariots of comfort for the weary commuter, having served faithfully for seven years. But without the necessary repairs, these chariots were unceremoniously benched, leaving many a passenger to face the tropical inferno of Bangkok without their beloved AC shield.

Complaints started pouring in, painting a picture of despair as passengers recounted tales of journeys where the only breeze was the one they made by waving their documents frantically. It was clear that something had to be done, and fast. Our anonymous official suggested that the BMTA should have played the hero by finding a new contractor to swoop in and save the day, asserting that a few months was all it would take to get the buses back in action.

But in a twist that would make even the most seasoned telenovela writers jealous, the BMTA board had other plans. They decided to embark on an adventure of their own, approving a project to rent 489 new NGV buses to take the place of the sidelined fleet. The cost of this ambitious plan? A cool 5,000 baht per day, which, when you crunch the numbers, reveals a plot twist: the BMTA’s daily fare collection was only bringing in about 3,800 baht. Cue dramatic music.

So there it is, the tale of how the streets of Bangkok almost lost their cool, quite literally. It’s a story that encompasses the complexities of urban planning, the dramas of corporate decision-making, and the high stakes of ensuring the common commuter can catch a break from the heat. Next time you’re enjoying the blissful chill of an air-conditioned bus in Bangkok, spare a thought for the unseen battles that keep those buses running. And maybe, just maybe, appreciate the cooler air a little more, knowing the fiery saga it emerged from.


  1. TommyT March 28, 2024

    Can you believe this chaos? Just when you think Bangkok’s commute can’t get any crazier, it does. Air-conditioned buses are lifelines for people here!

    • JaneD March 28, 2024

      It’s not just about comfort, it’s about health! Riding a bus without AC in that heat isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s potentially dangerous.

      • HeatwaveSurvivor March 28, 2024

        Absolutely, I’ve been there, and it’s brutal. Can’t imagine being stuck in traffic without AC. It’s a safety issue!

    • Realist123 March 28, 2024

      Everyone’s focusing on the air conditioning but isn’t the real issue the mismanagement? How did they not see this financial pitfall coming?

      • JaneD March 28, 2024

        Spot on! The planning (or lack thereof) is astonishing. It seems like there’s a bigger issue at play here with how projects are evaluated and executed.

  2. CityPlannerNerd March 28, 2024

    This is a classic example of short-term solutions to long-term problems. The city’s infrastructure issues require strategic planning, not just patchwork fixes.

    • BudgetHawk March 28, 2024

      But shouldn’t we also consider the financial sustainability? Renting buses at a higher cost than daily fare collection is economic madness.

      • EcoThinker March 28, 2024

        There’s an environmental angle too. What’s the carbon footprint of these buses? If they’re NGV, there’s potential for lower emissions, but is it enough?

    • ConcernedCitizen March 28, 2024

      True, but what are the alternatives? People need to get to work, and without buses, the roads would be even more congested.

      • CityPlannerNerd March 28, 2024

        In an ideal world, we’d invest in renewable energy buses and expand metro lines. But that requires political will and substantial investment.

  3. BangkokLocal March 28, 2024

    As someone who’s lived here all their life, this doesn’t surprise me one bit. The silver lining? Maybe it’ll lead to better planning in the future. Wishful thinking perhaps.

    • Optimist101 March 28, 2024

      We’ve got to hope for improvement. Public pressure can make a difference. Let’s not accept this as the norm.

      • BangkokLocal March 28, 2024

        True, but we’ve been hoping for years. I guess all we can do is keep pushing and make our voices heard.

  4. FinanceGuru March 28, 2024

    Does anyone else think this whole situation might have been avoided with better financial oversight? It sounds like fiscal irresponsibility to me.

    • SkepticGuy March 28, 2024

      Agreed. It’s basic math. How could they not calculate the daily costs and compare it with their income? Seems like a no-brainer.

      • FinanceGuru March 28, 2024

        Exactly! It’s a classic case of throwing money at a problem without thinking it through. We need better accountability.

  5. EcoWarrior March 28, 2024

    I’m just sitting here thinking about all the environmental implications of these decisions. There’s so much more at stake than just convenience and cost.

    • GreenTechie March 28, 2024

      You’re right. It’s about finding sustainable solutions. The city should invest in green public transport options to reduce its carbon footprint.

      • EcoWarrior March 28, 2024

        Absolutely. It’s high time we prioritize the environment in urban planning. The future of our cities depends on it.

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