Mass transit: Partial launch of new ticketing system set for June

'Spider' card includes rail routes, city buses

A common ticketing system for different modes of public transport is expected to be partially introduced in June, says a transport official.

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Common ticketing due for June launch

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A common ticketing system for different modes of public transport is expected to be partially introduced in June, says a transport official.

Peraphon Thawornsupacharoen, deputy permanent secretary for transport, said the system, called the maeng moom (spider), will be used not only by four electric rail routes but also by the city bus system.

Passengers currently have to buy separate tickets for each rail service. The spider card will serve as a single ticket to make travel more convenient for Bangkok commuters.

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA), operator of the city buses, will call bidding to select a firm that will install and manage an electronic pass card system for its fleet under a 1.8-billion-baht, five-year contract.

Of the total of 2,600 buses, 100 will start using the common ticketing system in June.

Mr Peraphon said the four electric rail systems – the BTS Skytrain, the Airport Rail Link, the Purple Line and the Blue Line subway service – will tweak the plans so a partial launch can take place in June.

Each station is likely to have one entrance and one exit for the common ticketing system in the initial stage of the operation with the system likely to be up and running fully by the end of this year, he said.

"Initially, the BMTA is likely to adopt the ticketing system first, followed by the BTS. The Airport Rail Link will be next, followed by the Purple Line and the Blue Line subway service," he said.

"They all have their own ticketing systems with varying degrees of complexity. Non-transport operators, such as convenience stores, are also expected to join in so the spider card can also be used to make purchases," Mr Peraphon said.

Fare reductions are unlikely when the spider card is introduced, he added, because each system has prior contracts and obligations.

He said low-income earners who currently use the free bus services will not be left out, as the Finance Ministry is making preparations for them.

The ministry is expected to launch a registration campaign for people eligible to use public transport free of charge in August and low-income earners will be able to use buses with the common ticketing system in October.

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Writer: Terry Fredrickson
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