Public vans likely to offer 10% fare cut
Passengers of public vans operating between Bangkok and the provinces stand to get a discount of 10% on current fares from April 1, according to a member of the government's team handling the re-regulation of public van services.
There are currently 4,125 such vans operating on 114 routes that fit into Category 2 of public transport vehicles under the law which will have to lower fares by 10%.
That's the same percentage of operating costs they have saved since passenger pick-up and drop-off points were relocated from the Victory Monument area to the Department of Land Transport's three main bus terminals, said the source.
Category 2 public transport vehicles are those operating on routes within 300 kilometres, said the source.
Since relocation, public van operators no longer have to pay rent for space around the Victory Monument area, said the source.
However, the proposed cut could cause hardship for some operators, as they are reporting a drop in passenger demand since the vans were relocated.
Col Suwit Ketsri, deputy commander of the 2nd Cavalry Division, King's Guard, confirmed the plan to lower fares.
However, he said could not say exactly how much fares will be cut as a study is needed to determine the actual costs of the public van service operation in the past five months in which the service was re-regulated.
Authorities also plan to adjust van service routes between December and March, which will need to be completed before the fare cut takes effect, he said.
The committee wanted the fare cut to come as a gift to passengers to mark the Thai New Year or Songkran festival, he said.
Darun Saengchai, permanent secretary for transport, admitted the number of van passengers has dropped significantly since the van pick-up and drop-off points were relocated. The drop in passenger numbers resulted in a decrease in income for van service operators, he said, adding that more public relations campaigns may be needed to inform passengers that shuttle bus services are provided for them to travel to the three terminals.