City Hall pressured over fare
Green Line too pricey, says TCC
The tussle over the maximum fare rate of the BTS Green Line railway may be finalised next week, Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt said on Wednesday.
Mr Chadchart and executives of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) on Wednesday discussed with Saree Aongsomwang, secretary-general of Thailand Consumer Council (TCC) issues surrounding the highly debated fares of the Green Line operated by Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) at Rama Gardens Hotel.
The TCC was pressing City Hall to cancel plans to fix the maximum fare at 59 baht for the entire Green Line route and switch back to using a fare structure that would lower it to 44 baht.
Many commuters have complained about the financial difficulty they face using the skytrain system.
The TCC urged the BMA to keep the cost of all public transport services low so as to make the price of commuting affordable for those on a low income.
The alteration of the fare rate can also be a model for other rail systems, according to the TCC.
Mr Chadchart said the 59-baht fare rate for the entire route, including the Green Line's extension, was just a short-term solution as the BMA has many expenses to pay, adding that it's also unfair on other people not commuting on the rail system.
"Further discussion with Thongthong Chantrangsu, chairman of the Thanakom company's executive committee, will be held next week to conclude the matter," Mr Chadchart said, referring to Krungthep Thanakom Co, a state enterprise under the BMA.
He further said that the 59-baht fare proposal has nothing to do with his election campaign pledge that fares would range from 25-30 baht as that amount was the average rate for a ride for eight stations along the line.
However, the BMA will compare the fare rate with other rail systems and keep the TCC posted on the issue, he noted.
Mr Chadchart said the Green Line train operation contract for 2029-2042 has been sealed with contractual obligations set in stone, which makes any revision difficult. However, the BMA will work to cut the length of the contract, he said.
"The BMA must thoroughly consider the proper adjustment of a fare rate based on its debt to hire the BTSC to operate the trains," the governor said.
"That includes looking into whether the debt was legally acquired."
The current fare rates of the Green Line railway range between 16 and 59 baht. Its rail service connects the capital to Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan, stretching 67.45 km along 59 stations.