Bus, rail ticketing plan falls into chaos

Bus, rail ticketing plan falls into chaos

The deadline to begin using the integrated Mangmoom (spider) tickets for Bangkok buses has been pushed back yet again, for the same reason, that the BMTA hasn't installed the machines.
The deadline to begin using the integrated Mangmoom (spider) tickets for Bangkok buses has been pushed back yet again, for the same reason, that the BMTA hasn't installed the machines.

The Transport Ministry's efforts to integrate a common ticketing system into 2,600 public buses in Bangkok will be delayed for a month, the ministry says.

The deadline for e-ticket-reading machines to be installed in buses and configured to read the system's "Mangmoom" (Spider) cards has been postponed from October 1 to the end of October at the earliest.

About 200,000 Mangmoom cards have been made available for Thai citizens since Saturday. At the moment, they can link the MRT Purple and Blue Lines.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith earlier set an Oct 1 deadline for the cards to be compatible with the Airport Rail Link and 2,600 of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA's) buses.

However, according to the ministry's statement, contract disputes between the BMTA and Cho Thavee Plc -- the company responsible for installing the card readers -- have yet to be settled.

The machines are reportedly still incompatible with Mangmoom cards. The matter has been complicated further due to several dysfunctional cash boxes being installed on the buses, which were part of a 1.6-billion-baht contract between Cho Thavee and the BMTA.

The authority said about 100 cash boxes had been installed on the buses, but only two were functional. The Transport Ministry's statement added the BMTA is waiting on a reply from the Comptroller-General's Department on contract amendments regarding the errors.

According to the statement, the BMTA and Cho Thavee will soon hold talks on how to integrate the common ticketing system into the card-readers. The cash boxes are set to be cancelled and the contract value subsequently decreased.

The Ministry is also considering giving handheld card scanners to bus conductors as a temporary substitute, in case the actual scanners aren't installed by the end of October.

Airport Link authorities have said system modifications are being made so that its network can support Mangmoom cards. They will also reportedly be complete by October.

Meanwhile, some confusion has been reported regarding distribution of the Mangmoom cards.

The 200,000 cards, divided into adult, senior citizen and student cards, have been equally split and given to each of the MRT Purple Line's 16 stations.

Each station will have a maximum quota of 1,000 cards per day, with distribution of adult cards occurring from now until June 29 and July 2-5.

However, authorities said several senior citizens have so far queued up to get their Mangmoom cards during this time, despite senior and student cards only being available from June 30 to July 1.

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