Lawmakers objecting to City Hall plans to nearly double maximum BTS fares plan to lodge a formal complaint this week.
Though less than the fare-tripling warned of last week, the new cap’s harm to the public would be amplified during the pandemic crisis, Sophon Saram, chairman of the parliamentary transportation committee, said yesterday. Sophon added that his requests for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to explain its logic had been ignored since November.
“The transport committee will invite related agencies this Thursday to oppose the unfair price raise and will file a report to the government as fast as we can, to stop the people from suffering,” said Sophon, a member of the Bhumjaithai Party who represents Buriram province. He did not specify the nature of the planned complaint.
Bangkok Gov. Aswin Kwanmuang announced Saturday that the new ceiling for BTS fares would rise from THB59 (US$2) to THB104 (US$3.45) for all lines.
Under the new structure, fares to reach Sukhumvit Line stations beyond BTS Mo Chit to the north – which will be assessed for the first time – will start at THB15 and climb to THB45. The same would apply to those beyond BTS Bang Chak to the southeast. The changes will be effective Feb. 16, one month after they were announced.
Aswin on Friday floated THB158 (US$5.25) as the new maximum fare, perhaps hoping it would take sting off of the THB104 announced a day later. On Saturday, he reiterated that it really should be THB158, saying the city would eat the THB54 difference at the cost of about THB40 billion (US$1.3 billion) by the end of 2029, when its concession with the Bangkok Mass Transit Co. ends.
The city’s arrangement with its concessionaire has left it deeply indebted, and parliamentary opposition last year sank plans to extend it another 30 years to 2059.
Sophon said the committee and Transport Ministry believe the maximum fare can be kept under THB65 (US$2.15) because of forecasted growth in ridership. He asked City Hall to reconsider its decision.