Govt urges BMA to halt raising train fare ceiling

Govt urges BMA to halt raising train fare ceiling

The Transport Ministry opposes a City Hall to sharply increase maximum fare on the Green Line. (Bangkok Post photo)
The Transport Ministry opposes a City Hall to sharply increase maximum fare on the Green Line. (Bangkok Post photo)

The Transport Ministry has urged City Hall to halt raising the BTS skytrain maximum fare ceiling, following heavy criticism.

"The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) should halt its policy on new BTS maximum fare and wait for other authorities to find proper solutions," Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said on Saturday.

He said the BMA should not go alone in making this decision. The cabinet in November 2018 appointed the BMA and the Transport Ministry to set the ceiling fare for the skytrain.

The BMA and Interior Ministry had been responsible for granting concessions for the operation of the skytrain. Yet the Transport Ministry is one of members of the committee reviewing the concession extension and investments on mass transit in the country.

The BMA previously extended the concession to the existing operator, the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BMTS) in exchange for keeping the fare ceiling at 65 baht.

Mr Saksayam made the comment after the BMA on Friday was reported to have raised the maximum fare over the entire BTS system to 158 baht, replacing the existing 65-baht ceiling.

The increased maximum fare of 158 baht was first set to be imposed on Feb 16. Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang, however, offered a brief discount to 104 baht to ease the burden on city commuters during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The BTS new maximum fare on the total Green Line has been widely opposed.

Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, said his association opposed the new maximum fare of BTS train's Green Line rising to 104 baht which was announced two days ago. He said the new maximum fare is still too expensive for daily commuters who use it twice every day.

The Transport Ministry opposed the new contract with the cabinet on Nov 17, saying it breached co-investment laws.

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