Bangkok Mass Transit Authority
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|Owner||Ministry of Transport|
|Locale||Bangkok , Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom and Samut Sakhon|
|Transit type||Service metro bus in Bangkok and boundary province|
|Number of lines||118 Routes|
|Daily ridership||3 Million people per day|
|Headquarters||131 Thian Ruam Mitra Rd. Huai Khwang, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Began operation||1 October 1976|
|Number of vehicles||3,526 Buses|
Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (Thai: องค์การขนส่งมวลชนกรุงเทพ), also known as BMTA (Thai: ขสมก. ), is the main operator of public transit buses within Greater Bangkok area. It is the largest city bus system in Thailand. The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority offers bus and van routes throughout the city and its suburban provinces.
The BMTA is a state enterprise under Ministry of Transport that started operations on 1 October 1976 upon the purchase and combination of the transportation assets of private bus companies, most of which had faced crises due to sharply rising oil prices since 1973. The government, in 1975, addressed the crisis by setting up a public-private joint venture called the Metropolitan Transit Company, Limited (Thai: บริษัทมหานครขนส่ง จำกัด), but the effort failed to materialize. It tried again in 1976 by setting up BMTA as a fully state-owned enterprise under the control of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Since then, the organization has been the main operator of city buses. However, some private bus companies opted to continue their service on certain routes under joint service contracts with BMTA instead of selling their assets to the state. Despite government subsidies, BMTA has been suffering losses from day one, resulting in deteriorating quality of service.
The BMTA service area covers Bangkok Metropolis and its suburban areas in the adjacent provinces of Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, and Samut Sakhon. It serves approximately three million passengers per day. The service hours are 05:00-23:00, except for a 24-hr night-owl service on some routes. As of September 2005[update], BMTA owned a fleet of 3,579 buses—1,674 ordinary buses and 1,905 air-conditioned buses. In addition to BMTA-owned buses, there are 3,485 private-own contract buses, 1,113 contract minibuses, 2,161 side-street songthaews, and 5,519 vans. In total, there were 15,857 buses and vans for 427 routes across 8 zones.
- Zone 1: North (Hubs: Rangsit, Don Mueang, Bang Khen, Lam Luk Ka, Pathum Thani)
- Zone 2: Northeast (Hubs: Min Buri, Siam Park, Bang Kapi, Lat Krabang, Nong Jok, Prawet)
- Zone 3: Southeast (Hubs: Pak Nam, Samrong, Bangna, Bang Phli, Mega Bangna, Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo)
- Zone 4: South and Central (Hubs: Khlong Toei, Thanon Tok, Sathu Pradit Pier, Rama III Rd, Rama IX Rd, Huai Khwang, Ratchadaphisek)
- Zone 5: Southwest (Hubs: Dao Khanong, Phra Pradaeng, Phra Samut Chedi, Samae Dam, Samut Sakhon, Chaeng Ron, Maha Chai Muang Mai)
- Zone 6: West (Hubs: Bangkhae, Thonburi, Wat Rai Khing & Samphran, Nakorn Pathom, Phasi Charoen, Sala Ya, Taling Chan)
- Zone 7: Northwest (Hubs: Nonthaburi, Pak Kret, Tha-it, Bang Yai, Bang Bua Thong, Nakhon In, Muang Thong Thani, Lak Si)
- Zone 8: Northeast and Central (Hubs: Siam Park, Bang Kapi, Ram Inthra, Lat Phrao, Huai Khwang, Chatuchak, Mo Chit, Bang Sue, Din Daeng, Ratchathewi)
The BMTA allows riders to board a bus and pay with cash or coupons. In 2017, the government planned to implement a common ticketing system across all mass transit modes, allowing passengers to pay with a single smart card known as the Mangmoom Card.
In December 2017, the BMTA abandoned a plan to install automated cash collection boxes as impractical, after having installed 800 of the devices. It halted the planned installation of the remaining 1,800 machines. The move prompted a Bangkok Post editorial to note that, "The fiasco reminds Bangkok commuters of just how poorly served they are and how inefficient and incompetent the agency [BMTA] is. Similar to its ageing bus fleet, the BMTA itself has reached a stage where its management desperately needs a revamp."
The cash box plan was part of the agency's 1.6 billion baht automated bus fare collection project that also covers the installation of e-ticket reading machines on all 2,600 buses serving Bangkok routes. Since October 2017, 800 buses has installed the cash boxes, which required passengers to feed in coins one-by-one. The "improvement" proved far too slow to be practicable.
The change would have resulted in the "replacement" of 2,600 bus conductors, according to the chairman of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority. He said he expects them to either retire or take up early retirement packages when all buses are equipped with cashless card readers.
BMTA operates air-conditioned and ordinary buses from various makers, most of which are Japanese. The air-conditioned bus fleet consists of buses from Hino, Isuzu, Daewoo, and Mercedes-Benz (standard and articulated). The ordinary bus fleet consists of buses from Hino, Isuzu, and Mitsubishi Fuso. Ordinary buses are being phased out. Most buses are diesel powered, but they are being converted to cleaner and cheaper natural gas (NGV). It operates new routes of NGV-powered vans, shuttling people between city center and suburban communities.
The BMTA has been working for 11 years to procure 489 natural gas-powered buses to replace its ageing fleet and is expected to complete the task in 2018. It plans to buy 35 electric buses and 2,476 hybrid buses in the future.
- Buses in Bangkok
- BRT (Bangkok)
- Bus No. 8
- List of bus routes in Bangkok
- List of rapid transit systems