Thai transport minister proposes 20-baht flat fare for MRT and SRT lines

Image by collinliu from pixabay.

Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit announced a pilot for a 20-baht flat fare on the MRT Purple Line and the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) Red Line. The pilot, expected to roll out within the next three months, is described as a “New Year’s present” for the public.

Suriya clarified this initiative in Parliament, affirming its practicality, after it was queried by Surachate Praweenwongwut, an opposition MP from the Move Forward Party. The flat-fare proposal emerged on the second day of the government’s policy declaration.

Suriya stood firm on the flat-rate policy, citing it as a chance to ensure fairness for individuals, particularly those battling with lower income brackets.

Despite his optimism, he cautioned it might take half a year for the flat-rate policy to be officially approved. This delay is due to the need to convene all train line concessionaires and establish a negotiation committee to discuss the policy in detail.

Suriya assured that the 20 baht flat rate will be trialled on the MRT Purple Line and the SRT Red Line in the forthcoming three months, aligning with the New Year period.

“Within two years, people will pay 20 baht for all train lines because we need time for negotiations.”

However, Surachate pointed out that the flat rate, which was one of Pheu Thai’s key campaign promises, was not included among its policies presented to Parliament. This omission is notable even though the Transport Ministry has three deputy ministers and Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is the Finance Minister, possessing complete authority to greenlight public funding.

Surachate argued that the flat rate should be applicable to every electric train line, including when passengers transfer to other lines. Nonetheless, without a distinct direction on transport system investment, the reach of the flat-rate policy remains uncertain.

Surachate further cautioned that the policy might falter within the first three months of the new government’s tenure, as promised during the election campaign, due to potential complications from the train lines’ private contractors, reported Bangkok Post.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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