City Hall’s Plan To Set 59-Baht Fare for Green Line Draws Criticism

A consumer protection group has sharply criticized the City Hall after authorities announced they planned to charge a 59-baht fee for the BTS Skytrain Green Line electric rail service.

On Tuesday, Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt said the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) had suggested a maximum 59-baht fare for the entire trip, including the Green Line’s extension that covers routes from Bearing to Kheha stations and from Mo Chit to Khu Khot.

Mr. Chadchart explained that the new rate would be in line with the TDRI’s suggestion, adding that passengers who enjoyed free rides would have to pay from now on because the City Hall had operating costs to cover.

According to the capital’s governor, about 27% of passengers have free rides on extended routes. The City Hall uses money collected from taxpayers to cover such costs.

“The 59-baht fare is a short-term solution. City Hall has had to pay several billion baht while operating the line. For a long-term solution, the concession extension must also be taken into account because that will expire in 2029,” he said.

Mr. Chadchart also spoke about his promise to keep fares between 25 and 30 baht, saying that it did not apply to the entire route, as it is an average fare for rides along eight stations.

Bangkok Deputy Governor Wissanu Sapsompol said the TDRI had suggested Bangkok’s Metropolitan Administration charge a fee of up to 59 baht to relieve the debt owed to Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) while operating the line.

The fare on the extended routes is 15 baht, but it reaches 59 baht when combined with the original route fare, he added.

However, Thai Consumer Council (TCC) Secretary General Saree Ongsomwang said the fare for the entire route should not exceed 44 baht.

Mr. Saree explained that the new tariff would make travelers pay up to 118 baht for daily round trips, which would represent 36% of the daily minimum wage (331 baht) for people working in Bangkok.

The TTC has “high expectations” of the capital’s new governor and supports his position against the Green Line concession extension, but authorities should set fares similar to those charged by other electric rail systems, he went on.