No free rides on BTS Green Line extensions from August, says Chadchart
Passengers using the BTS Green Line extensions will have to start paying fares from next month, the Bangkok governor said on Sunday.
Governor Chadchart Sittipunt spoke to reporters after attending a meeting between the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) company Krungthep Thanakom and the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC). The two sides met to negotiate the mountain of debt, estimated at 40 billion baht, BMA owes to BTSC for operating the Green Line extensions.
The Green Line extensions run from Bearing to Kheha in Samut Prakan (13km) and from Mo Chit to Khu Khot in Pathum Thani (19km).
The BTSC slapped the BMA with a lawsuit in September last year for 12 billion baht it says is owed for operating the Green Line extensions and another 20 billion for operation and maintenance costs.
Chadchart said that apart from looking into ways of paying off the debt, BMA also needs to look into charging fares for the extensions, which have been free for commuters so far.
He said BMA’s Traffic and Transport Department is studying the fare issue and should have a decision ready within next month. He said this new fare will be applicable until 2029.
“We need to rush on this issue as BMA has been paying billions every year for operations, and we are in debt because we did not collect any fares,” he said.
He said it was necessary to generate revenue, but the BMA needs to consider all options to ensure commuters are not burdened.
He added that the fare for the Green Line extension should not exceed 59 baht, because the 44-baht limit proposed by the Thailand Consumers Council would only create more debts.
Chadchart also said the BMA will take advertisement revenue into account when calculating the fares.