Buses to cut back services over costs

Buses to cut back services over costs

Travelers use inter-provincial bus service at the Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Travelers use inter-provincial bus service at the Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

Almost 50 companies running interprovincial buses will reduce their operations on routes nationwide starting July 1, due to high fuel costs, according to the Thai Bus Business Association.

The association first reported on June 20 that 43 interprovincial bus companies would curtail their services from July 1. However, on Tuesday the association said that there are now 47 companies cutting back services on 227 routes due to rising fuel prices and operational costs.

Sanyalux Panwattanalikit, managing director of the state-owned Transport Co, said that the company acknowledges the financial hardship that companies are struggling with and is trying to find solutions to alleviate the situation.

As part of that, Mr Sanyalux said the Central Land Transport Control Board will need to consider how any hike in bus fares, as a way to manage cost increases, would impact customers and bus operators.

Pichet Jiamburaset, president of the Thai Bus Business Association, said the transport operators suffered a heavy slump in passengers over the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, they are facing a fuel price crisis while no state subsidy for fuel is forthcoming, Mr Pichet said.

Thai Transportation Operators Association president Wasuchet Sophonsathien said that transport businesses began to recover from the pandemic only to be battered by the upsurge in fuel and consumer prices.

Mr Wasuchet suggested the government fix a fuel price rise for a specific period of time so transport operators can work around their costs.

This would help them to manage their finances more accurately, he added.

Narat Boonnontae, 58, owner of a bus contracted to run a service in Nakhon Ratchasima, said he has maintained frequency on his bus route because many people need to get around.

He added that he has been strict with his finances.

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