Govt mulls penalties for monorail hitches

Govt mulls penalties for monorail hitches

Govt mulls penalties for monorail hitches
Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit holds a picture of a monorail line as he voices his displeasure over mishaps on the Yellow and Pink lines. Chanat Katanyu

The government is considering whether to pursue contractual remedies from the operators of the city’s Pink and Yellow lines following the latest incidents involving the city’s monorail lines.

Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said under the terms of the contracts signed by the operators, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has the right to impose a fine on Northern Bangkok Monorail and Eastern Bangkok Monorail — which operate the Pink and Yellow lines, respectively — totalling 5% of the annual instalment for the construction cost which it has to pay the concessionaires.

If the concessionaires fail a performance assessment, which is due to take place in the next three months, the SRT may also choose to suspend the payment of annual instalments.

The minister was referring to two separate incidents involving the city’s monorail lines last week, which raised questions about the quality of the construction and the overall safety of the system.

On Thursday last week, services along the Yellow Line had to be temporarily suspended after metal fragments broke off from the tracks, damaging a number of vehicles on the road below.

Meanwhile, a mishap on Saturday saw concrete spill off a construction site on the elevated tracks of the Pink Line’s spur line to Muang Thong Thani, damaging a car and injuring a passenger inside.

Previously, on Jan 2, a tyre from a Yellow Line train fell off while it was running between Thipphawan and Si Thepha stations on Thepharak Road, damaging a taxi below.

The January incident came just a week after a section of conductor rail on the Pink Line broke free from the tracks, damaging several parked cars along Tiwanon Road in Nonthaburi.

Eastern Bangkok Monorail, which holds the concession to operate the Yellow Line that launched in July last year, is entitled to receive 25.05 billion baht in construction cost from the state, which is split into ten annual instalments of 2.5 billion baht, said Mr Suriya.

Northern Bangkok Monorail, the concessionaire of the Pink Line that opened on Jan 3, is entitled to receive 22.5 billion baht in construction cost, which is split into ten annual instalments of 2.25 billion baht, the minister said.

A new law on rail transport, which is due to take effect soon, will grant more authority to the Department of Rail Transport to regulate the safety measures and practices of all rail operators, he added.