Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited (BEM) is a private transport company in Thailand operating two metro lines in Bangkok and expressways. Under 25-year concession agreements with the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand, BEM operates the MRT Blue Line and MRT Purple Line.
We had the opportunity to sit down onsite with Mr. Witoon Hatairatana, Deputy Managing Director, Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited to find out his outlook of the rail industry in the next few years and the key challenges he’s facing in his role.
1. Can you share your thoughts on how the rail industry will evolve in the next 5-10 years?
I’ve been in this industry for over 15 years and I have seen the evolution of the industry from basic operations to having a network of metro in Bangkok. The evolution is quite enormous and this is a very exciting time in Bangkok and all over the region, because public transport is the main focus of every government. Technology is also evolving so much and we have to catch up.
2. In Bangkok, are there new lines in the pipeline?
In Bangkok, there are many lines coming up in the next 5-10 years to complete the masterplan of 10 lines, with a network length of 450km. After that, there’s a plan to build a light rail system in other big cities like Chiang Mai and Phuket.
3. What is the biggest challenge that you face in your role?
We are growing so fast so human resources could become an issue. We need time to build up an experienced workforce. If we grow too fast, keeping up with the performance and safety is a big issue for us and we need to be aware of that.
4. How are you tackling this challenge?
We already know when we have to expand, hence we have already started enhancing our existing workforce so that when the expansion begins, we can assign the experienced staff to the lead the teams and ensure a knowledge and skill transfer to the newer staff.
5. What will you be busy with for the next 12-18 months?
The Blue Line extension coming up and we’re going to bid for the new Orange line which is coming up. . The civil work already started this month, we expect to bid for the O&M part next year. The next project will be the Purple Line extension which we are going to bid for O&M as well.
Right now, we are operating 41km. With all those extensions, at the very end, we are going to have around nearly 100 stations. That’s going to be a total network length of 70-80km.
6. How do you find the event?
This event has always been my favourite. I only attend 1-2 events each year and this is one of them. This is the best opportunity for me to meet all the good people, all my friends, all my colleagues and this event can get all the CEOs and top executives all at one place so we get to meet all of them.
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