The Thailand Consumers Council (TCC) has urged the cabinet to cap the maximum fare of the new Pink Line monorail, scheduled to go into commercial service on Dec 18, at 20 baht per trip.
The fare would be the same rate now applying to Red and Purple Line services under the government's policy to help reduce living costs.
Free rides are being offered to passengers during the trial period for the 34.5-kilometre Pink Line service currently being conducted.
The new line connects Min Buri in the East of Bangkok with Khae Rai in Nonthaburi.
Citing findings from three studies conducted into the actual operating costs of Thailand's existing electric rail services, Saree Aungsomwang, secretary-general of the TCC, said a 20 baht maximum fare is a suitable rate.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin rides the Pink Line electric train at the start of its trial period on Tuesday. The premier took the train from Min Buri station to Wat Phra Si Mahathat station. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
One TCC study found the average operating cost of Bangkok's electric rail services is between 10.10 and 16.30 baht per trip, while another study by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) revealed the average operating cost of these services was 11 to 13 baht per trip, said Ms Saree.
The other study conducted by the Department of Rail Transport also showed that the average operating cost over a period of 30 years for an electric rail service is 14.31 baht per trip in the case of a conventional rail system as was the case for a monorail service, she said.
A proposal to charge Pink Line passengers between 15 and 45 baht per trip, which is expected to be submitted to the cabinet for approval, is therefore way too high, especially now that living costs are escalating, she said.
The TCC has been campaigning for electric rail services that most commuters can afford on a day-to-day basis, she said.
With many commuters switching to public transport services on a daily basis, air pollution associated with traffic emissions, as well as commuting time will decrease significantly, which will yield up to 952.23 million baht per year in economic and social return, she said, citing information published by the Ministry of Transport.