Transport ministry urges acquisition of minibuses

Transport Co Ltd has been instructed by the Transport Ministry to acquire more minibuses to replace inter-provincial vans. (Bangkok Post photo)

The state-run Transport Co Ltd has been instructed to intensify efforts to acquire 64 rental minibuses to replace the existing inter-provincial vans on short-distance routes in the interests of public safety.

Speaking after an inspection of the firm recently, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the ministry has ordered it to expedite the bidding process to obtain the vehicles following the failure of the first two rounds of e-bidding earlier.

The new version of the minibuses will help improve safety for passengers, standardise public transportation and generate more revenue, he said.

According to Mr Arkhom, the firm suffered a loss in 2016 but reaped 16 million baht in profit last year. This year, the firm is expecting profit of around 120 million baht.

Jirasak Yaowatchasakul, president of the company, said no contractors had submitted the bidding during the previous rounds on account of the cut-rate rental price of the minibuses.

The firm earlier offered a median rental price of 2,100 baht per minibus per day, which was considered too low for bidders. Therefore, the rate has been increased to 3,000 baht to encourage contractors to bid for the project.

Mr Jirasak said the new price would be proposed to the transport board next month for consideration in order to stage a third round of e-bidding soon.

The upcoming bidding would be undertaken in two parts: first for nine and then for 55 minibuses.

The first nine with a four-year rental contract would be urgently replaced inter-provincial vans in three short-distance routes to Suphan Buri, Ayutthaya and Chon Buri.

The bidding of the 55 other minibuses would take about four months. After a bid winner was sought, it would take about eight months for the vehicle assembly, he said.

According to Mr Jirasak, the company will also purchase 99 buses valued at 700 million baht. The project will be soon forwarded to the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board.

The firm will also rent 215 similar buses at a cost of about 1.4 billion baht, or 4,900 baht per vehicle per day.

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