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Blue Line fares may rise 3 baht, MRTA source says

The Blue Line has decided it will invoke a contract clause that permits it to raise fares within a few months, with a one-way trip charge likely to go up by 3 baht. (File photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)


 November 24th, 2017  |  09:57 AM  |   1206 views



The Blue Line has decided it will invoke a contract clause that permits it to raise fares within a few months, with a one-way trip charge likely to go up by 3 baht. (File photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)


Passengers on the MRT Blue Line may have to pay an additional 3 baht per fare next year, a Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) source said Thursday.


According to the source, who asked not to be named, contracts for the Blue Line's original Bang Sue-Hua Lamphong route (excluding the Tao Poon link to the MRT Purple Line) are due for a biennial review in July. This includes revisions to the pricing system.


The source said the MRTA will use changes in consumer price index data and inflation rates to decide whether to raise fares.


The route will still observe its 16-baht minimum and 42-baht maximum price range but trips to three stations could be raised by 1 baht apiece, the source said.


This means passengers travelling through all three would incur the full price hike of 3 baht per trip.


The stations in question have not yet been agreed on, added the source.


The MRT operator has found itself in the hot seat this week after it opted to remove a cluster of seats on a middle car of a three-carriage train running on the Blue Line.


Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc (BEM), the operator, held a joint press conference with the MRTA Thursday during which MRTA adviser Ronnachit Yaemsaard said seats on all of the middle carriages of Blue Line trains could be removed to ease passenger congestion.


He said the MRTA and BEM must first reach agreement on the issue, however, as the BEM's decision this week to press ahead with the seat-stripping before announcing the move sparked public ire.


Mr Ronnachit said this was due to "miscommunication" with the BEM.


"This month we will be gathering passengers' opinions about the necessity of removing more seats from trains before we carry out any further plans," he said. "An announcement will be made in December."


Mr Ronnachit said 35 more trains are expected to be brought in by the end of 2019 to cover the Blue Line, including its expansions. It is now serviced by 19 trains of three carriages.


He said at least one more will be added by the end of next year.


Each carriage can accommodate up to 300 people and the removal of certain seats can increase capacity by 10%, he added.


The Blue Line serves 350,000 passengers a day, two-thirds of whom are rush-hour users.


Explaining the carriage delay, the MRTA source said the BEM has been waiting to sign an MoU on its expansion plans.


It received the green light from the cabinet in March to proceed with the expansion work and the Tao Poon-Bang Sue link opened in August.



courtesy of BANGKOK POST

by Thodsapol Hongtong and Om Jotikasthira


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