The van service is managed by private operators with concessions granted by the BMTA.
Somsak Hommuang, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Transport, in his capacity as Acting Director of the BMTA, said the public van service will close by 2022 which is when 70% of the permits granted to van service operators expire.
In compliance with the Transport Ministry’s public transport safety policy, the BMTA plans to fully commence the microbus service in the next two years, Mr Somsak said.
He added that by 2022, those whose public van service concessions expire will be required to switch to microbuses if they want to continue providing public transport services.
He said the BMTA aims to encourage van service operators to replace their vans with 20-seater microbuses by offering them tax benefits.
The BMTA is seeking the ministry’s approval on the tax benefits plan.
The tax plan would not only encourage van operators to change to microbuses, but local car makers would also be able to produce and sell microbuses at prices significantly lower than imported ones, he said.
Four car-making companies – Toyota, MG, Hino and Bestlin Group – have expressed interest in a proposal to support private companies to set up a new factory in the so-called Free Zone, where taxes will be waived so they can produce microbuses and sell them at prices close to the average price of vans now used in the BMTA’s service, he said.
The ministry also plans to seek cooperation from Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCG) to find and offer loans to van operators who want to replace their vans with microbuses before their van concessions expire, he said.
An imported microbus costs around B2.4 million while one produced locally would cost between B1.5mn and B1.6mn after the tax benefit, he said. The average price of a van is B1.3mn.
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