EV Fleet To Replace No.8 “Fast & Furious” Bangkok Buses

Bangkok’s authorities announced that a new fleet of air-conditioned electric vehicles would replace the No.8 public buses later this year, meaning the city’s commuters should say goodbye to the iconic “Fast and Furious.”
The buses, named after the popular movie series for the way they are driven, will be phased out because they do not meet the parameters set out in the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BTMA)’s bus service reform plan.
The No. 8 public vehicles will be redesignated as No.2-38, said After a bidding to find an operator for the route, Thai Smile Bus was selected to provide the service for seven years.
The company will introduce a fleet of air-conditioned electric vehicles on the 20-kilometer route from the Memorial Bridge (Saphan Phut) in the heart of Bangkok to Happyland Market in the Bang Kapi district.
Thiraporn Methisariyapong, manager of bus operations at former No.8 service operator Thai Bus Transport, responded to the announcement by saying that the company was not able to do much to deal with the situation because it had accumulated 30 million baht in debt during the pandemic-induced lockdown.
Thai Bus Transport, one of the three companies contracted to run the route, was being forced to close, Ms. Thiraporn said, adding that the buses would be dismantled and their parts sold as soon as the service ends later this year.
“All we can do now is sell the vehicles and parts at 50,000 to 60,000 baht per bus, after originally buying them for 1-2 million baht each,” she added.
Bus station supervisor Sawitree Siharat stated that not only those on route No.8 but all “hot” (non-air-conditioned) buses will be phased out under the BMTA’s bus operation plan.
Ms. Sawitree criticized the move, saying she was upset when she heard the news, as many bus drivers and other staff members are too old to start a new job.
The BTMA’s bus reform strategy has been well received by commuters, who constantly complained about the vehicles’ speed and conditions.
However, bus operators plan to file a petition against the Administrative Court over the BTMA’s decision.