The Cabinet initiated an impactful change this Monday with the immediate approval of a proposal put forth by the Transport Ministry. The proposal aims at implementing a 20 baht blanket rate on both the Purple Line and Red Line train services, managed by the Metropolitan Rapid Transit (MRT). The primary intention behind this blanket fare, regardless of travel distance, is to lighten the financial burden and contribute to alleviating the cost of living for citizens.
The implementation of this flat pricing system commenced on Tuesday. In response to this decision, the Rail Transport Department released rather impressive figures – the number of daily commuters escalated to a staggering 94,446. This is roughly twice the usual crowd of 50,564 passengers who typically hop on these two electrified train lines on regular days.
The department has shed light on the remarkable shift in the number of daily commuters. Sunday recorded 16,561 travelers on the Red Line, which dramatically ascended to a count of 25,439 on Monday. Similar growth was observed on the Purple Line as well. Its ridership surged from 34,003 on Sunday to an astonishing 69,007 on Monday.
Transport Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit openly declared on Tuesday that this flat rate mechanism applied to both railway services will undeniably stretch beyond the trial period ending on November 30. According to him, the government is legally compelled to set a trial period for any initiative that necessitates a state subsidy for public provision(s).
Suriya explained that the applicable law mandates the Transport Ministry to evaluate the project down the line. This involves factoring in the total number of passengers along with the total amount needed to offset the operator’s potential losses prior to granting any extension. Minister Suriya projects that this evaluation process along with the extension(s) of the project might have to be carried out annually.