Thailand transport minister denies loss claims over 20 baht metro fare

Photo courtesy of สุริยะ จึงรุ่งเรืองกิจ - Suriya Jungrungruangkit (Facebook)

Thailand Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit refuted claims that the policy of charging a flat fare of 20 baht for all metro lines would result in the government incurring a loss of several billion baht each year.

This statement was made during the parliamentary session to consider the draft budget for the fiscal year 2024, following opposition MPs’ criticism of this policy.

Suriya emphasised that, in reality, the Red and Purple metro lines were already losing 6.9 million baht (US$199,479) per day. However, the implementation of the 20 baht (US$0.58) fare policy significantly increased passenger numbers.

While initial revenues may have dipped slightly, within three months, revenues for both metro lines significantly increased. The minister is confident that, when the government introduces air-conditioned electric bus feeder services in the next six months to facilitate travel to metro stations, revenues for both lines will exceed expenses and generate profits, reports Sanook.

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As for extending the flat fare policy to other metro lines, there will need to be compensation for operators based on contracts, necessitating the urgent promotion of the draft Joint Ticket Act.

This legislation would establish a fund that could be used to compensate operators. Currently, the draft Joint Ticket Act is being prepared for the Cabinet approval.

The funds the government uses to subsidise passenger fares come from the revenues of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), not from budget allocations.

The transport minister earlier slammed naysayers in Parliament, asserting confidence that the state-owned Purple and Red Lines train services are on the brink of turning a profit within the next six months, all thanks to a game-changing feeder bus system.

Addressing critics of the government’s daring move to cap maximum fares at 20 baht for electric train services in Bangkok, Suriya unveiled the success story of the Purple and Red Lines.

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Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

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