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BTS Nears Pre-Pandemic Ridership Levels

BTS Skytrain Bangkok Train Mass Transit Light Rail

It will surprise no one doing the rush-hour commute that ridership on Bangkok’s Skytrain system is nearing pre-pandemic levels.

BTS Group Holdings Plc. said the reopening of schools, a rebound in the number of foreign tourists, and the full operation of extension sections will push ridership this year to a higher level than before the coronavirus hit in 2020.

Surayut Thavikulwat, the BTS’s chief financial officer, reported an increase in ridership after May 17, when schools reopened, as more people opted to use mass transit lines to avoid traffic congestion.

According to Surayut, last week’s commuter count exceeded 70% of pre-pandemic levels. As soon as Covid-19 is declared an endemic disease, the trend will likely continue well into the second half of this year.

Surayut noted that a rise in foreign tourists since the country’s reopening last month and the full operation of BTS’s extension sections will also contribute to an increase in ridership this year.

In the fiscal year 2021, which ended March 31, BTS reported operating revenue of 31.1 billion baht and a net profit of 3.8 billion baht, decreases of 26% and 16%, respectively. However, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization rose from 25.2% in the prior year to 31.4% in the current year.

BTS is also constructing the Pink and Yellow lines, which were 87% and 92% complete, respectively, as of May. By 2023, these lines are anticipated to be fully operational.