Aside from free electricity, insurance, and bus rides, the Ministry of Finance is now considering letting low-income earners ride the BTS for free, and netizens are not pleased.
Finance Secretary-General Somchai Sujjapongse said the free BTS policy is aimed at helping low income earners cut their transportation costs, and he believes it will not be a burden to the country’s budget.
The welfare benefits are for those over the age of 18 that are unemployed or have an annual salary less than THB100,000.
It is reported that there are approximately 14 million low income earners in Thailand. Eight million people have registered for the welfare, and the ministry will open another registration period from April 3 – 30, Bangkok Biz News reported.
Netizens on Pantip forum are heavily discussing the free-BTS-for-the-poor scheme. Nearly all comments showed disapproval.
“Free bus is enough for the poor. The government has been issuing enough policies to fleece taxpayers. Free BTS, is that too much? If you’re poor, wake up early to catch a free bus, so you don’t have to be society’s burden and waste the tax money,” the top comment said.
Another comment made a good point — Thailand is doing it wrong. Unemployment doesn’t always refer poor living conditions, and for those who actually struggle, they would benefit more from jobs and education.
“You’re not solving the cause of the problem. Have you done any research? Some low income earners use an iPhone. They have a house and a car. You’re not solving this right. Find them jobs! If you just hand them money, all they will do is beg. Give them jobs and education. Teach them about laws and birth control,” another comment said.
In December, the government gave away a New Year’s gift of cash to low income earners. Each received a one-time sum of THB1,500 or THB3,000, depending on their income bracket.