ADB hands Thailand $311m for new metro lines

5 Jun 19

The Asian Development Bank has agreed a $311m fund to boost the creation of two new metro lines in Bangkok.

Construction on Thailand’s first single monorail mass rapid transit lines, Pink Line and Yellow Line, began in August last year. They are expected to be operation by late 2021 or early 2022.

The new lines will reduce air pollution while tackling the city’s famously-high congestion, according to the ADB, that said the proportion of travellers in Bangkok currently using mass rapid transit is low compared to similar cities.

Deputy director general of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department Christopher Thieme said: “Bangkok’s continued status as one of Southeast Asia’s global business hubs depends on relieving traffic congestion and increasing sustainable public transport services.”

The ADB’s package consists of two B4.95bn that ($155m) loans to the Northern Bangkok Monorail (NBM) and the Eastern Bangkok Monorail (EBM) to each operate one line, which will add to the five existing lines in the Thai capital area.

The 34.5km Pink Line links the western and eastern parts of northern Bangkok, while the Yellow line connects the northern and southern parts of the city’s east. Each can transport up to 28,000 per hour in each direction.

Besides the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) lines, Bangkok’s transit system includes an underground railway and the Bangkok Transit System, better known by locals as the ‘Skytrain’.

NBM and EBM are special purpose vehicles set up by BTS Group Holdings Public Company Limited, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Public Company Limited, and RATCH Group Public Company Limited.

BTS Group Holdings executive director and deputy chief executive officer Terence Kong said: “ADB's involvement as a lender enhanced the overall bankability of the project by providing a long tenor repayment profile. It will provide more flexibility on cashflow management and help mitigate ridership risk at the opening stage of the project.”

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