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Bangkok’s BRT System Set for Electrification by September: BTSC Aims for Timely Rollout

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In a race against the ticking clock, Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC), the operator behind the iconic BTS Skytrain, is fervently working to get Bangkok’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system electrified and operational by September 1. This ambitious deadline follows a contract they inked with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) on April 30, committing to procure 23 electric buses (EV) and operate them over five years for a comprehensive cost of 478 million baht.

The journey from contract to operation is laden with trials, particularly a mandatory one-month testing period for these buses. This stipulation has cast a shadow of uncertainty on whether the vehicles will be road-ready by the looming deadline. Surapong Laoha-Unya, the CEO of BTSC, addressed these concerns, revealing that while they are sourcing bus chassis from China, the final assembly will take place in Thailand. It’s a logistical ballet with multiple steps and any misstep could delay the rollout.

Surapong’s apprehension isn’t unfounded; the manufacturing process is intricate and the trial period adds another layer of complexity. Nevertheless, he remains cautiously optimistic, buoyed by assurances from the Chinese chassis supplier about timely deliveries. But, in the high-stakes game of urban mobility, there’s more on the line than just meeting a date on the calendar. Should the EV buses miss the deadline, BTSC faces a contractual fine payable to the BMA—a financial incentive to leave no stone unturned.

In an effort to mitigate concerns, the BTSC CEO emphasized the company’s all-hands-on-deck approach to expedite the entire process. Every cog in the machine is turning furiously to ensure that by September 1, Bangkok residents will be greeted with sleek, new electric buses.

Adding to the changes, the fare collection system will undergo a makeover. No longer will commuters prepay at the station; instead, they’ll settle their fare on the bus itself—a move designed to streamline operations and perhaps add a touch of modern convenience to the commuter’s experience.

Meanwhile, Sitthiporn Somkitsan, the deputy director-general of the BMA’s Traffic and Transport Department, offered a peek under the hood—or rather, the floor—of these incoming 24-seater, low-floor marvels. Powered by a 150 kWh lithium-ion-phosphate battery, these buses are designed with universal accessibility in mind, ensuring they cater to all commuters, regardless of their mobility needs.

The evolution of the BRT doesn’t stop with new buses. According to Deputy Bangkok Governor Wisanu Subsompon, the BRT system is set to become more versatile. To better serve Bangkok’s commuting population, these buses will no longer be confined to their dedicated lanes but will make additional stops outside of them. This flexibility extends even further with a 2-kilometer route extension from Sathon Road to Rama IV Road, enabling passengers to seamlessly transition to the MRT Blue Line at Lumpini Station.

And there’s more. Imagine doors opening like a dance of automation mastery. These new BRT buses will feature dual-sided doors—one set opening to the right for BRT-exclusive stations and another to the left for conventional bus stops. This dual-access design promises to make the BRT a nimble player in Bangkok’s public transit network.

As the days inch closer to September 1, the city watches with bated breath. Will Bangkok’s skyline soon see a fleet of eco-friendly EV buses zipping through its streets, heralding a new era of clean, efficient, and flexible public transport? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: BTSC is pulling out all the stops to make it happen.


  1. Alex T. June 16, 2024

    I can’t believe Bangkok is actually going electric with their BRT! It’s about time cities started taking climate change seriously.

    • ferociousTiger99 June 16, 2024

      Electric buses cost a fortune, though. Is this really the best way to spend taxpayer money?

      • Paulina S June 16, 2024

        Investing in sustainable public transport will save money in the long run by reducing pollution and healthcare costs.

      • Alex T. June 17, 2024

        Exactly, Paulina. Plus, it’s better for the environment and the people living in the city.

    • Jack June 16, 2024

      But what if the buses aren’t road-ready by September? We might end up paying more in fines than the project is worth.

      • Eve June 16, 2024

        BTSC is taking a risk for sure, but big changes always come with some level of uncertainty. It’s a bold move.

      • Alex T. June 16, 2024

        Agreed. High risk, high reward. At least they’re trying to implement something positive.

  2. Sara M June 16, 2024

    I’m excited for the new fare collection system. Paying on the bus seems much more convenient.

    • Hans June 16, 2024

      Convenient, yes, but what about those who don’t have exact change? It could slow down boarding times.

      • Jenna L. June 16, 2024

        Most buses in other countries have card payment options. I’m sure they will too.

      • Sara M June 17, 2024

        Hopefully, Jenna! Modernization should make things easier, not complicate them.

  3. EcoWarrior2021 June 16, 2024

    Why are they sourcing parts from China? Shouldn’t they support local manufacturers?

    • David Hernandez June 16, 2024

      China has the infrastructure to meet their deadline. Local suppliers might not be able to deliver on time.

    • ScoobyDoo June 17, 2024

      It’s all about costs. Chinese manufacturers are cheaper.

  4. Charlotte V June 17, 2024

    The dual-sided doors are such a clever idea! More cities should adopt this.

  5. Ravi June 17, 2024

    How will the new route extension impact current traffic? Adding stops could cause more congestion.

    • Tom H. June 17, 2024

      It could, but if more people take the bus, it might actually reduce the number of cars on the road.

  6. Oliver Wilson June 17, 2024

    The buses having low floors and being universally accessible is a fantastic step forward for inclusivity!

  7. Nina L June 17, 2024

    What about the testing period? One month seems too short to ensure the buses are safe.

    • Frankie June 17, 2024

      They probably have stringent testing protocols. Better short and thorough than long and lax.

    • Oliver Wilson June 17, 2024

      I’m sure safety is a priority. BTSC wouldn’t want any accidents tarnishing their reputation.

  8. Sunny June 17, 2024

    I can’t wait to see these electric buses in action. It will definitely make commuting more pleasant.

    • Catherine June 17, 2024

      Yes, no more noisy diesel engines! The quieter rides will be a welcome change.

    • Alex T. June 17, 2024

      And cleaner air too. It’s a win-win for everyone.

  9. Art Vandelay June 17, 2024

    Is the BRT really the solution we need? The MRT expansion seems more critical.

    • Mark P June 17, 2024

      Both systems serve different purposes. BRT can complement the MRT by providing connectivity to areas the MRT doesn’t reach.

  10. Isa June 17, 2024

    Can we trust BTSC to stick to this deadline? They missed deadlines before.

    • Jonas K June 17, 2024

      Every organization has hiccups. This time they have punitive fines as motivation.

  11. Maya S. June 17, 2024

    September 1st is a tight deadline, but I’m hopeful they can pull it off. Bangkok needs this!

  12. Jasper June 17, 2024

    What about fare prices? Will they remain affordable?

    • Henry June 17, 2024

      With the high cost of electric buses, I wouldn’t be surprised if fares go up.

  13. AstroTunnel June 17, 2024

    Will these new buses have Wi-Fi on board? That would be a modern touch.

    • Jetsetter June 17, 2024

      Wi-Fi would be fantastic, especially for long commutes!

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