In the coming three months, a 20-baht flat fare is set to be introduced on both the MRT Purple Line and the State Railway of Thailand’s (SRT) Red Line as a “New Year’s present” to the citizens, announced Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit on Tuesday.
Mr. Suriya communicated the initiative in parliament when questioned about the feasibility of implementing a 20-baht uniform rate.
The topic of a flat fare emerged during the second day of the government’s policy announcement, introduced by Surachate Praweenwongwut, an opposition member of the parliament from the Move Forward Party.
Mr. Suriya advocated for retaining the flat fare strategy, viewing it as a chance to establish fairness for people, particularly for individuals grappling with lesser earnings.
The minister mentioned that executing the flat fare strategy might necessitate six months, since the administration needs to assemble all rail line franchise holders and establish a discussion group to deliberate the strategy with them.
He affirmed that the 20 baht flat fare will be initiated on the MRT Purple Line and the SRT Red Line in the forthcoming three months, coinciding approximately with the New Year season.
“In two years, people will pay 20 baht for all train lines because we need time for negotiations,” he revealed.
Mr. Surachate noted that the flat rate, a prominent pledge in Pheu Thai’s campaign, was conspicuously absent from the policies laid before the parliament.
This omission was notable especially given that the Transport Ministry boasts three deputy ministers, and Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who also serves as the Finance Minister, holds comprehensive powers to authorize public expenditures.
He suggested that the flat fare ought to be extended to all electric train routes, encompassing scenarios where passengers switch to alternative lines.
Nevertheless, due to the lack of a defined roadmap regarding transportation infrastructure investments, the exact scope of the flat fare strategy remains ambiguous, the opposition representative commented.
Compounding the issue, he expressed concerns that the policy may not materialize within the initial three months of the new government’s tenure, despite election campaign promises, due to potential complications arising from the train lines’ private contractors.