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Thailand’s think tank urges cheap fares for new rail routes

The TDRI recently compared the average fare per trip in Bangkok with those of Singapore, Hong Kong and London using a purchasing power parity (PPP) adjustment.

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The Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) is studying how electric train fares could be adjusted along new routes to ensure fairness and affordability to all commuters.

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Sumet Ongkittikul, director of the TDRI’s Transport and Logistics Policy, said the results will be presented to the government.

The TDRI, he said, found that a low-income earner can afford to pay a train fare of only 11.7 baht a trip, which is lower than half the current average train fare of 28.3 baht.

A middle-income earner is capable of paying 20.3 baht per trip.In the face of the future unveiling of new electric train routes and extensions, train fares are likely to increase unless they are curbed, he said. If nothing is done, it is estimated the train fare from Bang Yai to Bang Na or from Bang Yai to Ekamai could exceed 100 baht, Mr Sumet said.

The TDRI recently compared the average fare per trip in Bangkok with those of Singapore, Hong Kong and London using a purchasing power parity (PPP) adjustment.

MRT Blue Line extension passenger Test Runs to start late July
Thailand’s capital had a PPP-adjusted average fare of 28.3 baht per trip, more than double the Singaporean fare of 13.3 baht.

Thailand’s capital had a PPP-adjusted average fare of 28.3 baht per trip, more than double the Singaporean fare of 13.3 baht.

The equivalent train fare in Hong Kong was 16.8 baht per trip.In terms of cost per kilometre travelled by train, the average fare in Bangkok stood at 14.8 baht, as opposed to 12.4 baht in London, 2.3 baht in Singapore and 4.08 baht in Hong Kong.

According to Mr Sumet, the number of passengers in the electric train system is still lower than its commuter-handling capacity and this takes a toll on the operators which have to shoulder high operating costs.Their burden could be eased by an increase of passenger numbers, he said.Train fare adjustments, meanwhile, should take into account both cost and passenger numbers and efforts must be made to boost service quality, Mr Sumet said.

According to research by the Aom Money website, using the BTS electric train service is more costly than the MRT subway system and the State Railway of Thailand’s Airport Rail Link.A BTS passenger would be charged 37 baht when travelling from Sala Daeng to Asok, as opposed to 23 baht when commuting by MRT between Silom and Sukhumvit stations, which is an equivalent journey, the website indicates.

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National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The government’s 50:50 co-pay campaign expiring on 31st March may not be getting an immediate campaign extension. The Minister of Finance says campaign evaluation is needed to improve future campaigns.

The Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith today announced the government may not be able to reach a conclusion on the extension of the 50:50 co-pay campaign in time for the current 31st March campaign end date, as evaluations are needed to better improve the campaign.

Originally introduced last year, the 50:50 campaign is a financial aid campaign for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the government subsidizes up to half the price of purchases at participating stores, with a daily cap on the subsidy amount of 150 baht, and a 3,500 baht per person subsidy limit over the entire campaign.

The campaign has already been extended once, with the current end date set for 31st March.

The Finance Minister said that payout campaigns for the general public are still valid in this period, allowing time for the 50:50 campaign to be assessed, and to address reports of fraud at some participating stores.

The Fiscal Police Office Director General and the Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Kulaya Tantitemit, said today that a bigger quota could be offered in Phase 3 of the 50:50 campaign beyond the 15 million people enrolled in the first two phases, while existing participants will need to confirm their identity if they want to participate in Phase 3, without the need to fill out the registration form.

Mrs Kulaya said the campaign will still be funded by emergency loan credit allocated for pandemic compensation, which still has about 200 billion baht available as of today.

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