Train ticketing overhaul in motion

Train ticketing overhaul in motion

Automated system to reduce fares by 30%

The Transport Ministry is aiming to speed up the implementation of a common ticketing system for Bangkok's electric trains in a bid to reduce fares by 30%.

Pisak Jitviriyavasin, deputy transport permanent secretary, said under the short-term plan, the common ticketing system, or Automated Fare Collection (AFC), is expected to begin at the end of this year, covering the BTS Skytrain and the MRT's Blue and Purple lines.

Once in place, holders of Rabbit cards for the Skytrain, MRT cards, MRT Plus cards for the MRT's Blue and Purple Line and the Mangmoom, or Spider card, will be able to travel on the train routes without having to buy separate tickets for each journey.

The announcement of the plan is in response to a call by the Thailand Consumers' Council (TCC) which demanded the government lower ticket fares for Bangkok's trains and keep them at under 10% of the daily minimum wage, which is equal to about 33 baht per round-trip.

"One of the measures to control public transportation fares is to adopt the ticketing system," Mr Pisak said. "This is because commuters will not be charged an entry fee every time they change trains to other rail lines. So the fares will be 30% cheaper."

There are currently 16.2 million cards for the electric train networks within Bangkok -- 200,000 Mangmoom, 2 million MRT cards and MRT Plus cards and 14.2 million Rabbit cards.

According to Mr Pisak, the common ticketing system will later be extended to the Red Line rail system owned by the State Railway of Thailand, the Airport Rail Link (ARL) and other modes of transportation including public buses and passenger boat services.

He said this is in compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning and concerned parties to develop the common ticketing system.

As for the long-term plan, he said the Account Based Ticketing (ABT) system using EMV technology will be introduced covering all modes of public transportation including the expressway systems.

EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) is a payment method based upon a technical standard for smart payment cards and for payment terminals and automated teller machines which can accept them.

He said the EMV payment, which is being used on city buses and some expressway routes, will be used with the entire expressway system in July this year and then with the MRT's Blue Line and Purple Line in January next year.

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