BANGKOK, 23 March 2012 – The Transport Ministry has assigned the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to develop the plans for 10 additional electric train routes as well as study the details of the 20-baht flat train fare.
Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan has told the SRT to divide in to working groups to study the 10 new train routes so that the work could progress quickly. He expects the construction contracts of all the new routes to be signed in this government as promised during the election.
Meanwhile, Deputy Transport Minister Prapat Jongsanguan says that he will discuss with the SRT whether the government should shoulder part of the costs incurred if the 20-baht flat fare is to take effect after the construction of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA)’s purple line is completed. He said the Ministry also has to talk to the government about a budget to compensate the SRT.
According to the plan, the government is to pay for all the costs of construction works and the private sector will be hired to run the train services. As for the blue line or Hua Lampong-Bang Sue route, Mr Prapat said that Bangkok Metro Company Limited (BMCL), which has been granted a concession to operate the service on that rout, will make its own decision whether to join the 20-baht flat rate scheme on a voluntary basis without government interference as it might cause confidence and investment problems among future foreign investors.