The board of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has approved a fare reduction proposal for the SRT Red Line and the mass rapid transit (MRT) Purple Line, setting the fare at 20 baht.
SRT governor Nirut Maneephan said on Friday that the board, chaired by Jirut Wisanjit, had given the green light to the 20-baht flat fare proposal in line with the new government's flat-fare policy being piloted on these two routes.
The SRT Red Line has 13 stations, connecting Taling Chan and Rangsit, while the MRT Purple Line, with 16 stations, runs between Bang Sue and Khlong Bang Phai.
Mr Nirut said the proposal will be submitted to the Transport Ministry next week.
By law, any fare adjustment must comply with Section 27 of the Financial Disciple Act, which states that if any government agency has a measure or a project that will affect its revenue, its measure must be accompanied by a budget and expenditure plan, including a timeframe implementation and benefits to be received.
If the ministry approves the proposal, it will then be forwarded to the cabinet for consideration, said Mr Nirut.
The governor said he expected that the fare proposal would align with Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreagkit’s 20-baht flat fare policy, which he referred to as a "New Years's gift" to the public.
"After the cabinet's approval of the proposal, the SRT will hold talks with the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and Krungthai Bank (KTB) to improve the software systems of the Red Line and the Purple Line, allowing them to interconnect," said Mr Nirut.
According to a study on the flat fare reduction, the SRT would lose revenue and the government would need to provide compensation of about 80 million baht per year. However, the fare reduction is expected to encourage changes in passenger behaviour, as more people would opt for electric train services. This shift would increase the number of passengers by 5-20% annually and would boost the SRT's revenue, said the SRT governor.
Currently, the SRT Red Line caters to approximately 20,000 passengers a day, he added.