Blue and Purple MRT lines testing contactless payment from Saturday

PHOTO: The Purple and Blue MRT lines will test accepting credit cards at the turnstyle on Saturday. (via KTC / MRT Bangkok Metro Facebook)

Public transportation in Bangkok like the MRT, BTS, buses and boats have been working their way towards a contactless payment system, and this Saturday the first trial runs will begin. The guinea pig for the contactless payment using Visa or MasterCard will be the Purple Line and Blue Line of the Mass Rail Transit system.

Beginning on January 29, commuters and riders will be able to use their Visa or MasterCard credit card to make payment right at the turnstile entrance at MRT station train platforms, provided their cards have the tap-to-pay contactless technology in them. The system will allow users to bypass the entire ticketing machine and ticket office area and streamline the process of paying and riding the rapid transport in Bangkok. Average tickets to ride the MRT lines are between 16 and 41 baht and will be charged directly to the rider’s credit card.

The Purple Line and Blue Line of the MRT are launching the first trial run, with the Red Line urban train of the SRT expected to be the next trial location to accept these credit and debit card payments. Once fully rolled out, the expedited payment system will be on all train lines in Bangkok including the MRT and BTS, along with specific boats and city buses and even expressway tolls, a great convenience for commuters across the city.

Krungthai Bank partnered with the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand to bring this payment system project to life in an attempt to modernise transport payment in the capital city. It is hoped that soon Bangkok will have a fully integrated payment infrastructure with seamless incorporation that will allow cashless payment and move away from the days of scrounging for small change to buy a ticket for public transportation.

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The Bangkok Metropolitan Rapid Transit system, Bangkok’s main subway (as opposed to the BTS Skytrain, which is above ground on an elevated light rail rapid transit system), has been running since 2004 with its Blue Line that stretches 21 kilometres from Hua Lam Phong railway station to Bang Sue in the north-central part of the capital with 18 stations in between. The MRT extended the Purple Line in 2016, which serves the north-western part of Bangkok and Nonthaburi Province.


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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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