Consumer group opposes BMA fares for Green Line extension
The Thailand Consumers Council (TCC) on Wednesday opposed the city administration’s move to start collecting fares on the Green Line’s second-phase extensions with variable rates, starting from 14 baht.
Kongsak Chuenkrailart, assistant secretary of TCC’s subcommittee on public transportation, said the announced fares between 14 to 44 baht for the second-phase extension of the Green Line would increase the transportation cost burden on consumers.
Kongsak called on the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to use one-rate fare of between 10 to 15 baht for each side of the second-phase extension so that it would be affordable to poor commuters.
Kongsak noted that the second-phase extensions from Bearing to Samut Prakan and from Mo Chit to Khu Khot run past areas inhabited by low-income earners. Having to pay up to 44 baht for a Skytrain ride on the extension would be too high for the poor, Koongsak said.
On Monday, Deputy Bangkok governor Wisanu Subsompon said the fare for riding the Green Line train on any of these two sections alone will start from 14 baht and the fare will increase by 2 baht per station with the maximum of 44 baht within the same extension. But if the passengers travel further on the first extension and main Green Line, the entire fare will be capped at 59 baht. Fare collection on the second-phase extensions will start in mid-September, he said.
Wisanu pointed out that the rates would be the same as currently used on the Green Line’s first extensions.
The Green Line has two main routes – Silom and Sukhumvit. On the Silom route, the first extension runs from Wong Wian Yai to Bang Wa and on the Sukhumvit route, the first extension runs from On Nut to Bearing.
The main Green Line is operated by the Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC).
Although the fare for the entire route would be capped at 59 baht, the TCC sees the rates of 14 to 44 baht as too high.
“The TCC and Bangkok residents have been placing hope on the new governor to lower the fares of the Green Line to be similar to other lines – especially because all the extensions were invested in by the government,” Kongsak said.
“The fares should be lowered so that all consumers can afford to ride the Green Line, as the governor once promised that he would not extend the concession of the Green Line.”
He said the TCC was disappointed to hear the rates of 14 to 44 baht for the extensions, which, Kongsak said, would raise the cost of transportation per round trip for a commuter to 1,118 baht per month, which would account for 36 per cent of minimum wage.
An office worker, who works in Phra Ram 9 area, said without the new fare on the extensions, he was paying about 148 baht per one-way trip to work, but if the new rates were applied on the extension, he wold have to pay about 194 baht per one-way trip.
He said the BMA should collect only 14 baht from Ku Kot to Mo Chit, which would still be acceptable.
The TCC has surveyed the opinions of some 3,204 people and found that 96 per cent of the respondents said the starting fare of 14 baht, plus 2 baht per station, would be expensive because the segment from Ku Kot to Mo Chit has 21 stations.