Thailand’s Cabinet extended measures to reduce the cost of living for low income earners by offering free non-air conditioned bus and third-class train service to Jan 15 next year, according to government spokesperson Thitima Chaisang.
Extending free bus and train services to Jan 15 is aimed at reducing travel costs for people traveling home to the provinces for the long New Year holiday. The measures expired on June 30.
Free bus and train services
The spokesman said the measures will cost the government around Bt2.18 billion.The Ministry of Transport reported in August that 400,000 bus passengers and 50,000 rail passengers per day benefited from the measures.
Initiated during the administration of late former prime minister Samak Sundaravej to assist low-income earners in 2008. Other measures included free electricity for users of less than 90 units per month and free tap water for users of less than 30 cubic metres per month. MCOT online news
The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has advised that the Government should not focus on spending large sums of money on projects to stimulate consumption but should rather save some for emergency.
During a seminar entitled ‘Thailand: Moving Forward with the New Government’, BoT Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul stated that the central bank would remain committed to its goal to maintain the national economic stability as well as financial balance in 2012. Personally, he disagreed with the Government’s investment of huge budgets in an attempt to encourage the domestic consumption, suggesting that the money should instead be reserved for use in emergency cases.