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70-baht fare maximum sparks rider outcry

70-baht fare maximum sparksrider outcry

70-Baht Fare: The Transport Ministry is arguing with critics of the Blue and Purple Lines’ maximum rail fare of 70 baht, insisting it is an “appropriate” rate.

The recent cabinet approval of the fare has drawn flak from social media critics who
claim the rate is too expensive when compared with current living costs.

However, the criticism does not worry deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn.

In fact, authorities have not charged commuters at a maximum rate for travelling on
the two routes because a “connection fee” of 14 baht is exempted, he said.

He was referring to the fee required for passengers who need to shift between the Blue
and Purple lines at Tao Pun station. The Blue Line, a 21-kilometre subway, connects Hua Lamphong in central Bangkok with Tao Pun while the Purple Line takes commuters further from Tao Pun to Nonthaburi’s Bang Yai district across 23km on an elevated rail track.

The maximum fares on each route are collected at 42 baht for 12 stations or more. If
people travel on the two lines, they have to pay a total of 84 baht.

However, they now pay only 70 baht because of the fee waiver, Mr Pailin said.
However, this does not mean passengers are required to pay a flat rate of 70 baht, he
said. The money is charged in accordance with the distance they travel.

There are 19 stations on the Blue Line and 16 stations on the Purple Line. According to Mr Pailin, the fares on the two routes are capped at 42 baht, so commuters are not subject to additional charges when they travel from the 13th station.

So, the deputy minister insisted, “The 70-baht rate is appropriate.”

The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) is preparing to open a section
of the Blue Line extension, linking Hua Lamphong and Bang Khae in September next

The other section of the line, stretching from Tao Pun to Tha Phra, is scheduled to
open about a year later. Authorities will consider whether to include the connection
fee in the fares in the future.

In another related story, the MRTA insisted it offers complete facilities to accommodate
disabled commuters on the Blue and Purple lines, contesting their complaints over a
lack of equality on public transport.

The agency’s communication affairs unit yesterday issued a statement after groups of
people with disabilities gathered on Tuesday to petition the Central Administration
against the MRTA who was accused of ignoring its duty to accommodate them.

The MRTA argued it has already provided all necessary facilities, including lifts and
ramps, on its stations’ compounds. “But other parts of footpaths are under the
responsibility of other agencies,” it said.

MRTA officials also said it held talks with groups of disabled people to ensure they
had the most appropriate Purple Line design.

Thirayut Sukhonthawit, chairman of the Transport for All Network, said talks were
held but they were only “meetings on the project principles”.

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