The State Railway of Thailand has joined hands with the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) and Krung Thai Bank to roll out a monthly pass giving commuters unlimited rides on the city's public bus network and 50 rides on Bangkok's Red Line electric commuter rail services.
Pichet Kunadhamraks, director-general of the Department of Rail Transport, right, rides a Bangkok bus before attending the launch of the Transit Pass Red Line BKK X BMTA. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Suthep Punthupeng, CEO of SRT Electrified Train Co, said the "Transit Pass Red Line BKK x BMTA" will help reduce commuters' travel costs, adding he hoped it will also attract more people to use both the Red Line and the city's public buses.
The Red Line links Taling Chan in Bangkok to Rangsit in Pathum Thani along 41.3 kilometres of electrified tracks. About 25,000 people use the service each day, but only about 5,000 use multi-trip cards -- most commuters purchase a single-trip token before their journey, he said.
Commuters must first purchase a fare card, which costs 100 baht, at SRT and BMTA ticket booths. Once the card is registered, they can purchase the Transit Pass as an add-on for 2,000 baht, which is valid for 30 days.
The pass gives commuters unlimited rides on Bangkok's public bus network, and 50 trips on the Red Line for 30 days since its activation. Once the 50 rail trips are used up, commuters must wait for the subscription period to end before they can purchase a new Transit Pass.
While the cards can be used on the Red Line as of yesterday, public bus operators will only start to accept them from April 1.
The average price per journey for a Transit Pass holder is about 22 baht, lower than the average price per journey for a single-trip token holder, which is about 25 baht. This means commuters can save up to 150 baht a month, he said.
BMTA deputy director Phimphaw Wongsuthirat said the monthly pass will increase the number of electronic pass holders to 60,000, or about 8.5% of the 700,000 passengers it serves each day.