BMA pleads with BTS to defer fare hike

BMA pleads with BTS to defer fare hike

City wants Skytrain operator to help ease financial burden on travellers

A BTS train leaves Mo Chit station on Nov 15. (Photo: Pormprom Satrabhaya)
A BTS train leaves Mo Chit station on Nov 15. (Photo: Pormprom Satrabhaya)

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is pleading with the Skytrain operator to put on hold a plan to raise fares by at least one baht from the first day of the New Year.

Bangkok Deputy Governor Wisanu Subsompon said on Friday that City Hall had sent a “cooperation-seeking letter” to Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc to reconsider and eventually defer the new fare schedule to ease the financial burden of travellers using the elevated train system.

The BMA said the BTS operator had additional revenue from commercial space, advertising and the skywalks that connect its stations with buildings in the capital.

The company recently announced a plan to charge fares ranging from 17 to 47 baht per ride from Jan 1, up from 16-44 baht now. It cited rising operating costs as a reason to put the fares up and said the new rates are still well below the ceiling of 21.52 to 64.53 baht specified in its contract with the BMA.

The new fares are to be charged on the Sukhumvit Line from Mo Chit to On Nut stations and the Silom Line from National Stadium to Saphan Taksin stations, as well as the Silom Line extension from Saphan Taksin to Wongwian Yai.

MPs from three major parties — Bhumjaithai, Pheu Thai and Palang Pracharath — have also spoken out against the proposed fare hikes.

They have asked the House committee on transport to summon the relevant authorities to explain the increases.

The BMA and the central government, meanwhile, continue to wrangle over 40 billion baht owed by the city to BTS Group Holdings for running the Green Line extension.

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