Bangkok’s train systems too expensive for many Thais: report

Photo: My Train Pix/Flickr
Photo: My Train Pix/Flickr

Set to rise further, fares for Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain system are already too high compared to base wages in the kingdom, according to a recently publicized study by a policy research institute.

Low-income earners can only afford to pay THB11.7 per trip (US0.38), well under the BTS starting fare of THB16, according to the report by the Thailand Development Research Institute, which was less than the average of THB28.3 for all three commuter rail services servicing the Thai capital.

Based on current fare schedules, rates are likely to rise over THB100 for a ride between the Purple Line’s MRT Bang Yai, in the Bang Bua Thong district in the western outskirts, to a downtown station such as BTS Ekkamai THB100, according to institute transport policy director Sumet Ongkittikul.

Factoring in purchasing power, it found that riding the rails in Bangkok was more expensive than Hong Kong (THB16.8), Singapore (THB13.3) and London (THB12.4). 

Because of high fares, Sumet said that fewer commuters could use the electric rail lines, and operators must shoulder high operating costs.

There are currently three such systems covering metro Bangkok: the BTS Skytrain, the MRT and SRT Airport link. All are air-conditioned and operate 6am to midnight daily with trains arriving roughly every 10 minutes.   

All are operated by the privately owned conglomerates under lucrative concessions granted by the government.

Related Stories: 

Starting Friday BTS ‘Rabbit Card’ holders must register their ID cards

Off the Rails: 9 ways the BTS should have improved by now

Bangkok Skytrain breaks down for the 11th time this month

Monday Morning Hell: Malfunctioning signaling system paralyzes Bangkok’s skytrain network

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