Transport Ministry drafting bill to reduce electric train fares to 20 baht
The Transport Ministry is preparing the draft of a joint ticket bill that will allow commuters to use one ticket/card to travel across the public transport network as well as at participating shops and service providers, minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said on Monday.
Suriya said the bill, which will incorporate the setting up of a joint ticket fund, will essentially enable the government to cap the electric train fare at 20 baht on all routes, including those currently under private administration under public-private partnership.
The campaign is an election promise of the Pheu Thai Party, which leads the government coalition, and aims to reduce people’s financial burden. The pilot phase kicked off in October last year on state-run Red and Purple line trains and has resulted in both lines recording new highs in passenger numbers.
“To avoid affecting the current contracts with private operators, the ministry aims to use money from the joint ticket fund to compensate operators for the lost revenue from the train fare cap,” he said.
Suriya cited a study by the Department of Rail Transport, which estimated that the government will need to shell out at least 8 billion baht to subsidise the 20-baht fare cap on all electric train routes.
The study also said that the campaign subsidy should come from several sources, including a contribution from the Energy Conservation Promotion Fund, the government budget, and a reduction in contributions to state revenue of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand.
Suriya admitted that there will not be any more train routes joining the 20-baht fare campaign this year, as the ministry is waiting for the joint ticket bill to be approved by the cabinet, which should happen around midyear, before the fund can be established.
The Transport Ministry earlier announced that it would implement the 20-baht train fare on all routes within two years. At the time of reporting, six months have already passed.