The newly-established Rail Department will propose that the Transport Ministry consider a reduction in electric train fares of up to 40% during off-peak hours, from 10 am to 4 pm and 8 pm to midnight, and at weekends and reduce the cost of monthly tickets by five baht per trip on the Purple and Blue lines and Airport Link, with the exception of the BTS sky train system.
Rail Department director-general Mr. Saravuth Songsivilai said today (Tuesday) that the discounts are expected to increase the number of people using the services by about 10%, while the state would have to subsidize the operators to the tune of about one billion baht a year to offset their lost revenue.
The new discounted fares, if the proposal is agreed, would be:
• Purple Line from Taopoon to Bang Yai – current fare 14-42 baht – discount fare 14-25 baht
• Blue Line from Bang Sue to Hua Lampong and Bang Khae – current fare 16-42 baht – discount fare 16-30 baht.
• Commuters who hold monthly tickets get a five-baht discount per each trip on the Purple and Blue lines and Airport Link.
Mr. Saravuth said that the proposed fare cuts would be submitted to the Committee for the Development of the Fare Structure of the Rail System this Friday.
“If endorsed by the committee, the proposal will be sent to the transport minister for approval,” he said, adding that he expected the new rates could be introduced in October for a three-month trial period, during which the Rail Department will assess the effects on rail service.
Mr. Saravuth said that the subsidies for the train operators, namely Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc (BEM), Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRT) and State Railway of Thailand (SRT), would come from road taxes collected in Bangkok, amounting to a total of about 14 billion baht a year.
He added that commuters who spent up to 15,000 baht in train fares could ask for an income tax refund from the Revenue Department under the proposal.