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Supreme Court Upholds MRTA in Orange Line Dispute Against BTSC: Project Moves Forward

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The Supreme Administrative Court has turned down a lawsuit filed by Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) against the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and its bidding committee. The dispute stemmed from revisions made to the terms of reference (ToR) for the Orange Line’s western extension, stretching from the Thailand Cultural Centre to Bang Khun Non.

In upholding the Central Administrative Court’s decision in favor of the MRTA, the Supreme Administrative Court concluded that the adjustments made to the ToR in 2022 were lawful and aimed at ensuring competent private companies could handle the project. BTSC had accused the MRTA and its committee of manipulating the ToR to favor a particular bidder, but the court found no merit in these allegations.

The court emphasized that the defendants adhered to the law on public-private partnership (PPP) investments without any vested interests. The ToR changes, they asserted, were both necessary and justifiable. Even a 60-day public hearing was conducted in 2022, complying with the 2019 Public-Private Partnership Investment Act, demonstrating transparency and inclusivity in the process.

According to sources, the invitation announcement did not infringe upon BTSC’s rights or duties. This verdict wraps up a four-year-long legal saga involving the Orange Line project, paving the way for the MRTA to finalize contracts with the chosen bidder, Bangkok Expressway and Metro (BEM), later this year.

Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit announced that the MRTA would draft a joint investment contract for the western segment and submit it for his approval within 30 days. Upon receiving the green light from the cabinet, the MRTA aims to expedite the operations of the Orange Line’s eastern part, linking the Thailand Cultural Centre and Min Buri, by May 2028.

Former MRTA governor Phakphong Sirikantharamas pointed out that civil work on the eastern section of the Orange Line was completed more than a year ago. By swiftly establishing a contract for the western extension, a private company can operate the eastern segment sooner, providing immense benefits to residents of eastern Bangkok.

Spanning 35.9 kilometers, the Orange Line Project is an ambitious underground and elevated transit system connecting Bang Khun Non with Min Buri. While construction on the eastern section is completed, it is yet to be operational, meaning the acceleration of the western extension is crucial for the overall success and usability of the project.


  1. Samantha June 12, 2024

    I’m glad the court sided with the MRTA. The project needs to move forward to relieve traffic congestion in Bangkok.

    • JohnDoe123 June 12, 2024

      But what if BTSC’s claims were actually valid? Manipulating the ToR would be a serious issue.

      • Liz P. June 12, 2024

        John, they had a 60-day public hearing. Transparency was maintained.

      • Samantha June 12, 2024

        Exactly, Liz. The process was open to public scrutiny, which makes the allegations seem less credible.

  2. Alex92 June 12, 2024

    I live in eastern Bangkok, and this will be a game changer for daily commutes.

    • Robert K. June 12, 2024

      Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, Alex. These projects often face delays.

    • Jill Wood June 12, 2024

      I agree with Alex. Even with delays, the long-term benefits are worth the wait.

  3. Maya Lee June 12, 2024

    The legal battle took four years. Sometimes I wonder if these bureaucratic processes just delay progress unnecessarily.

    • CivicWatcher June 12, 2024

      Due process is essential to prevent corruption and ensure fair competition.

      • Maya Lee June 12, 2024

        I get that, but it still feels frustratingly slow.

  4. GreenHeart92 June 12, 2024

    How environmentally friendly will this extension be? Any studies on its impact?

    • EcoWarrior June 12, 2024

      Good question! Rapid transit can reduce car emissions, but construction can also be harmful.

    • Priya Gupta June 12, 2024

      They usually conduct environmental impact assessments for such big projects.

  5. Samantha June 12, 2024

    I’m still skeptical about the transparency. 60-day hearings aren’t enough to cover all aspects.

  6. BangkokBoy June 12, 2024

    BEM gets the contract again? Why am I not surprised… These deals always seem shady to me.

    • Alice T. June 12, 2024

      It’s not necessarily shady. BEM might just have better qualifications.

  7. TravelJunky June 12, 2024

    I’ve been to cities with efficient transit systems; this could really put Bangkok on the map.

    • Tourist June 13, 2024

      Totally. Bangkok needs to improve its infrastructure to attract more tourists.

  8. Harry June 13, 2024

    I’ve seen projects like these get approved only to face endless delays and cost overruns.

  9. TechGuru June 13, 2024

    With automation and modern tech, these projects shouldn’t take this long anymore.

  10. ED7 June 13, 2024

    The completion target of May 2028 sounds optimistic. Let’s just hope they can stick to it.

  11. TransportNerd June 13, 2024

    The Orange Line’s integration with other lines will be key. Better connectivity will be a game changer.

    • Jane June 13, 2024

      Agreed. Seamless integration is crucial for the entire transit system to be effective.

  12. Victor R. June 13, 2024

    Interesting how public-private partnerships are becoming more common in big infrastructure projects.

  13. NewsWatcher June 13, 2024

    The MRTA says there were no vested interests, but can we really trust them?

    • Siri June 13, 2024

      Trust but verify, right? Hopefully, the public hearings provide some assurance.

    • Insightful June 13, 2024

      MRTA’s credibility depends on their track record. Have they been transparent in other projects?

  14. Raj June 13, 2024

    The legal process is critical, but we should streamline it to prevent such long delays.

    • Ek June 13, 2024

      Streamlining is fine, but not at the expense of transparency and fairness.

  15. George W. June 13, 2024

    Funny how these legal sagas often involve the same big names again and again.

  16. ConcernedCitizen June 13, 2024

    I hope this project doesn’t end up being one of those ‘white elephants’ that never get fully utilized.

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