Playing with fire is safer than playing with train fares. That's why the issue of train fares is largely left untouched by transport ministers and railway chiefs.
The last time the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) hiked fares for third-class passengers was more than 10 years ago when diesel prices of around 30 baht per litre were unthinkable.
Fares for the third class are superficially low today. A ticket from Hua Lumphong to Bang Sue still costs 2 baht, and 5 baht to Don Muang. The fare from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, a 750 kilometre trip, still stands at 121 baht, excluding top-up charges.
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