BMTA disaster : debts, losses, and plan to axe 20 % of workforce

A Transport Ministry-backed plan to shed almost 3,800 employees from the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) payroll could face stiff union opposition. The ministry says in addition having old, decrepit buses, the BMTA is overstaffed and its workers are inefficient, problems the bus agency needs to tackle to escape from rising debts.

[…]
The average age of BMTA’s 17,920 workers is 50.

Some workers are not qualified for their jobs, but BMTA is not totally at fault, he said. Workers were transferred from private bus companies after the BMTA was established as the public bus service provider in 1976. In 1983, the agency started giving route concessions to private firms to improve service.

BMTA’s 3,535 vehicles now account for roughly a quarter of all public buses, vans, mini-buses and the like servicing the capital. Its fleet includes about 1,670 ordinary and 1,860 air-conditioned buses.

Worse, the BMTA was forced to defer a plan to recruit new workers after a cabinet resolution in May 1995 to freeze agency hiring, meaning officials with the skill and expertise to improve the organisation could not be hired, the deputy minister said.

As well, the BMTA’s latest operating report, issued in July, details the agency’s high payroll, which accounts for 32% of its total budget.

Under a plan, which has not been approved by the government, the agency would be divided into regulating and operating divisions.
[…]

Ticket collectors will also be dispensable because ticket vending machines will replace them. The machines would be installed at bus stops so passengers can buy electronic tickets before boarding.

”Using conductors adds more cost and makes [BMTA] prone to corruption,” the deputy minister said.

The BMTA has in the past been plagued with counterfeit bus tickets which cost the agency considerable revenue.
[…]
But the BMTA union’s deputy leader Veerapong Wongwaen warns any attempt to cut staff will meet protests.
(Bangkok Post)

It’s difficult to be surprised by such plan… BMTA is a running (?) disaster… plagued by problems (54 billions of debt, old fleet, poor services, read here).

It’s important to note that the continuous government’s intervention don’t help (for instance to offer “free” rides, and to deny any fares increases).

2 Responses to “BMTA disaster : debts, losses, and plan to axe 20 % of workforce”


  1. 1 chinesethai 21 August 2008 at 3:23 am

    They should have done this for 30 years.

    Almost every state-owned and government-backed enterprise in Thailand are rife with corruption and red tape. Most theorists would propose privatization. But what they don’t know is in Thailand privatization doesn’t help. Privatized organizations remain gold mines for top brasses, politicians, and billionaires. Many have conflicts of interests.

    Take Thaksin as an example. He had Thai Air Asia as part of ShinCorp so he awarded Air Asia profitable routes at the expense of Thai Airways. Moreover, many politicians frequently request free boarding on Thai Airways’s business class.

    Dr.Veerapong Ramangkul sits in hundreds of private companies’s boards of director but can still be invited into government’s advisory position.

    Some SOE directors and executives use electricity for free.

  2. 2 fall 21 August 2008 at 1:10 pm

    The average age of BMTA’s 17,920 workers is 50.
    How in the sam hill do they have that average? At that age, aint they afraid of them dropping dead at the same time and cause critical staff shortage?

    The plans calls for 3,377 employees to be axed…
    The downsizing would not be done cruelly, Mr Songsak said. Staff would be encouraged to accept early-retirement packages, for which the Finance Ministry has set aside 6.2 billion baht.

    That’s roughly 1.8M per employee. Rule of thumb, early retire give monthly salary x year of work. Assume 40 years of work, that would be average 45,000 salary/month.
    Do BMTA really hire more than 3,000 people on that pay?
    Not cruel package, indeed…


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Thailand Crisis

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