BMA defends fare-ceiling hike
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is sticking by its plan to raise the fare ceiling on the BTS skytrain Green Line train from 65 baht to 104 baht from Feb 16 despite opposition from a House committee on transport.
Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang on Thursday brushed aside the committee's call for the BMA to review the fare ceiling hike. He said the BMA will halt the plan only at the behest of the government.
"If we halt raising the fare, where will we find the money to repay the Green Line's loans,'' Pol Gen Aswin said. He insisted the maximum 104 baht fare is affordable, and said the fares charged by other electric rail systems are not cheaper than those of the Green Line.
"Let's compare numbers. The MRT Blue Line charges 1.62 baht per kilometre while the Green Line charges 1.23 baht for the same distance,'' he said.
"While the government paid more than a hundred billion baht to finance the construction of other electric rail lines, the government did not pay a single baht for the cost of the Green Line,'' he added.
Sophon Sarum, a Bhumjaithai Party MP and chairman of the House committee, said the panel opposed the new maximum fare and wanted the BMA to halt it. It invited agencies involved to testify on the matter, but they failed to provide clarification, he said.