Fin Min to seek extension of free bus, train measure

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BANGKOK, 19 August 2011– The Ministry of Finance is planning to ask the Cabinet to extend the measure providing people with free services on public buses and trains while also studying the possibility of making it permanent. 

Finance Minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala stated that, during the Cabinet meeting next week, the Ministry would propose that the cost-of-living measure allowing commuters to use public buses and economy-class trains free of charge be continued until the end of this year.

At present, more than 450,000 low-income earners are benefitting from the free rides each day. The measure reportedly costs the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) up to 310 million THB per month, and the Government is obligated to compensate the operator for the expense.

Meanwhile, Mr Thirachai revealed that he would convene with related agencies in order to evaluate whether it would be possible to make the free bus and train measure permanent.

As for other policies, including the tax reduction for people buying houses and cars for the first time and the suspension of the Oil Fund collection, the Minister said they would become clearer in practical aspect after the Government had delivered its policy statement to Parliament.