National transport green light on way
The Transport Ministry on Tuesday said it would propose the full resumption of public transport services nationwide, except in provinces still maintaining a lockdown.
Anon Lueangboribun, a deputy permanent secretary for transport, said the proposal will be discussed tomorrow at a meeting of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
He said it is expected to be endorsed and go into effect by either Friday or Saturday.
Mr Anon delivered his comments after a ministerial meeting yesterday tasked with hammering out a broadening of transport services during this third phase of Covid-19 containment restriction easing, which began on Monday.
The proposal will apply to all inter-provincial bus and train services as well as domestic flights, he said.
For 19 provinces still in lockdown, relevant transport offices will formally inquire about schedules for reopening, Mr Anon said.
"If these 19 provinces agree to ease their lockdowns as well, land transport services should fully resume either on Friday or Saturday. After all, the number of services per day should be adjusted to meet both demand and service operators' readiness," he said.
As the curfew remains in place from 11pm and 3am, inter-provincial bus services should be adjusted to ensure the last bus leaves before 11pm and arrives at its destination after 3am, without any passengers disembarking or embarking during the curfew time, said Mr Anon.
With social-distancing measures halving bus capacity, bus service operators will need to double their fares, said Thani Sueb-roek, deputy director-general of the Department of Land Transport.
To avoid shifting that burden onto passengers, the department is drafting a proposal to subsidise those added costs, he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha urged those expecting the next phase of Covid-19 restrictions to ease to instead pay more attention to safeguarding public health and stopping a second outbreak wave.
The government has yet to discuss the possibility of lifting the ban on international flights because further discussion on that matter is needed, he said.