No more Blue Line fare rises for this year

No more Blue Line fare rises for this year

Will ease commuter hardship: Saksayam

Fares on the MRT Blue Line will remain unchanged, at least until the end of this year, after the cabinet approved a hike on Tuesday, according to the Transport Ministry.

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said the ministry held talks with the Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc (BEM), the operator of the Blue Line, and it was agreed the current fares would remain until year end.

The current fares, which start at 17 baht, are capped at 42 baht. Under the proposed increase, the new fare will start at 17 baht and be capped at 43 baht.

He said the cabinet's approval of the fare rise is in line with the contract which allows price increases to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI). It was originally scheduled to take effect from July 3.

According to Mr Saksayam, discounts also remain available to three groups of passengers with children and the elderly being eligible for a 50% discount, while those with student pass cards are entitled to a 10% discount. "This is to help alleviate hardship for commuters in line with the government's policy to make public transport safe, efficient, environment-friendly and affordable," he said.

Under the contract between the BEM and the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), the operator is entitled to seek a fare increase every two years.

Meanwhile, the number of passengers using the mass-transit system has almost returned to pre-Covid levels, according to the MRT. As of June 24, the number of passengers using the MRT's Blue and Purple lines, the BTS system, the Red Line and the Airport Rail Link exceeded 1.15 million per day. Before the pandemic, the average number of daily passengers stood at 1.2 million.

As for the Blue and Purple lines, the number of passengers rose to 352,983, compared with 337,015 before Covid-19 hit. The BTS system recorded 680,107 passengers, compared with an average of 734,411 before the pandemic.

The Airport Rail Link, which connects inner-city areas with Suvarnabhumi airport, recorded 53,380 passengers daily, compared with 71,953 before the pandemic. The number was low apparently because the tourism industry had yet to fully recover.

The Red Line electric train, operated by the State Railway of Thailand, registered 16,565 passengers on June 24. The suburban railway system, which was officially launched late last year, expects to clock 30,000 passengers per day within this year.

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