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BMTA undecided whether to take delivery of first lot of NGV buses or not

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) is undecided whether to accept the delivery of the first lot of Chinese-made NGV buses not as it is awaiting a ruling from the Office of the Attorney-General, BMTA director MrSurachaiIamvachirasakul said Friday.

The bus supplier, Bestlin Group, won the bid to supply 489 NGV buses at a cost of over 3,000 million baht to BMTA, the city bus operator. The buses were supposed to be assembled in Malaysia with Malaysian local contents which will make the buses eligible to the waiving of import taxes under Asean free trade area agreement. But it turned out that all the buses originated from China in fully-assembled form and they were diverted to Malaysia before being shipped into LaemChabang deep-sea port to dupe Thai customs that they were assembled in Malaysia.

All the buses which arrived at the port were impounded until Bestlin Group paid import taxes and fines.

98 buses have already been released from LaemChabang port and are now parked at a parking lot of the Metropolitan Rapid Transit in Rama IX area since January 12 and another shipment of 145 buses are expected soon.

MrSurachai said the inspection committee would decide whether BMTA should be allowed to take delivery of the first lot of buses or not in case the city bus operator wants the buses before there is a ruling from the OAG.

While a ruling from the OAG is still pending, he said the BMTA would start fitting the buses with GPS on January 16.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)