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BTSC justifies its decision to make maximum fare on Green Line most expensive

Dec 04. 2020
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By The Nation

The Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC) insists that the Bt65 maximum fare on the BTS Green Line is reasonable, while the Transport Ministry is ready to explain the fare calculation at a meeting with the prime minister and Interior Ministry.

Surapong Laoha-Unya, BTSC chief operating officer, said it had discussed this fare with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) when the concession for the BTS Green Line was being mulled.

He said the maximum fare includes the cost of civil work, electric train management and revenue that BTSC has to share with BMA annually.

“The maximum fare for the Green Line cannot match that of other lines because of the difference in costs,” he said.

Transport Minister Saksiam Chidchob said the ministry was waiting for an answer from the BMA and Interior Ministry on the fare’s implementation and if there may be any legal disputes.

"I believe we still have a lot of time to consider this issue thoroughly because the concession will expire in 2029,” he said, adding that this issue will not affect commuters.

Saksiam went on to say that his ministry has already prepared information regarding fare calculation, and that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will discuss this issue with the Interior and Transport ministries soon.

"The ministry has gathered information from the Department of Rail Transport and Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand [MRTA], who was granted the concession for the MRT Blue Line, and found that the fare calculation was based on Consumer Price Index [CPI]," he added.

The Transport Ministry said it has checked BTSC and BMA's fare calculations and found that they were based on the Commerce Ministry’s CPI, which includes the food and beverage category.

"If the BTSC and BMA did not include the food and beverage category in their calculation, the maximum fare for the Green Line would drop by 20 per cent,” the ministry said, adding that the MRTA did not include this category in its calculation.

A source from BTS operator said the private sector can cut the fare to ease commuters’ burden provided they receive support from the government.

"Once the BTS Green Line is extended, BTSC will have to bear about Bt100 billion in civil work costs and share about Bt300 billion in revenue with the BMA, so this line costs a lot more than other lines, where the operators only had to bear concession fees,” the source said.

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