Next Stop: 15B flat fares, says new Thai transpo chief

The BTS Skytrain. Image: Rodrigo Argenton/ Facebook
The BTS Skytrain. Image: Rodrigo Argenton/ Facebook

In news likely to elicit cheers from Bangkok straphangers, the Transport Ministry has pledged to reduce commuter rail fares to a flat rate.

Newly appointed Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said 23 agencies would look for ways to drop fares to as low as THB15 (US$.50).

“The departments will then report the results of their findings to me within one month in order for us to determine how much the fare can be reduced,” Minister Saksayam Chidchob told reporters.    

Reached by phone this afternoon, Pakapong Sirikantaramas, governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Administration, said a fare reduction can only happen if the government subsidizes operators’ high operating costs. 

He declined to weigh in on the merits of the proposal.

‘Whether this plan will work depends on the policy the government will come up with,” he said.

The two major commuter rail systems, the BTS and MRT, are publicly owned but operated by private firms with lucrative concessions.

Those firms can seem less motivated by the collective public good in such as their inability to cooperate on a unified ticketing system (See: forever-delayed Mangmoom cards).

We don’t advise holding your breath for 23 agencies to find common ground.

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