11 July 2024

Operators of the Purple Line and Red Line suburban train services suffered a combined loss of Bt7.4 million per day between October 16 and November 14, after fares were capped at Bt20, said Dr Samart Ratchapolsitte, deputy leader of the Democrat party and an expert in mass transit.

Writing in his Facebook post today, Dr Samart said that he was not surprised that Transport Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit did not give a press conference a month after the 20-baht train fare was imposed, which is in sharp contrast to the start of the new fare structure on October 16th, when the smiling minister brandished a 20-baht banknote at a press conference.

During the first month of the capped fare, Dr. Samart says that the average gross revenue of the two train lines amounted to about 1.3 million baht per day (500,000 baht on the Red Line and 800,000 baht on the Purple Line), while the total operating costs amounted to 8.7 million baht per day, resulting in about 7.4 million baht of operating losses each day.

The daily average number of passengers using the two lines is 45,725, or 91,450 trips, constituting an increase of 13%.

Dr. Samart suggested that the transport minister conduct an investigation, by riding the two train services in his private capacity, without being accompanied by reporters or a big entourage, to discover why fewer passengers are using the services than were anticipated.

He also said, however, that the launch of the Pink Line service, currently on trial runs, may encourage more passengers to use the Purple and Red lines, because the three lines are interconnected.

He also proposed that the transport minister speeds up the implementation of the Pheu Thai party’s policy to cap the fares on all the city’s train services to attract more passengers.

The Red Line suburban train is operated by SRT Electrified Train Company, a subsidiary of the State Railways of Thailand (SRT), while the Purple Line is operated by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRT), under the supervision of the Interior Ministry.