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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Railway Transport Department Achieves Milestones in Five Years

The “Department of Railway Transport” celebrates its extraordinary achievements five years after its establishment. Efforts to introduce fare caps on electric trains from 12.4 bahts, reduced from 15 to 17 bahts, are underway. The intercity trains have no entry fee based on distance. The first high-speed train costs 95 bahts plus distance-based calculations, with a policy of 20 bahts and additional passengers totaling 4 million, leading to a compensatory reduction of 70 million bahts. Mr. Pichet Kunathamrak, Director-General of the Department of Railway Transport (DRT), revealed that June 7 marked the 5th anniversary of the department’s establishment as a regulatory agency for the railway transport system. Over the past five years, it has continued to develop the railway transport system to make it more efficient, address various complaints, assist affected individuals, and oversee quality railway services to best meet the needs of the populace.

Looking ahead to the sixth year, Mr. Pichet emphasized the Railway Transport Authority’s (RTA) ongoing efforts to promote the effective development of Thailand’s railway transport system. The aim is to make it the country’s primary mode of transportation, instilling confidence in users that they will enjoy convenience, speed, happiness, and safety during their travels. Additionally, there are plans to accelerate various projects to ensure public access and equitable use of the railway transport system, including reducing travel costs, particularly the 20-baht electric train policy across the entire line, in line with government policy implemented since October 16, 2023, on the Red Line and the Purple Line, which has been highly successful in encouraging more people to use railway services.

Mr. Pichet further noted that, based on data up to April 30, 2024, approximately six and a half months, the total average passenger volume on the two lines was 18.08 million, up 27.10% from the same period in 2023 (October 16 to April 30, 2023), when the passenger count was 14.22 million. This has now increased to 4 million, with the Red Line recording 5.48 million passengers, a 51.46% increase, and the Purple Line having 12.59 million passengers, an 18.17% increase. Passenger revenue on the two lines totaled 289.30 million bahts, a decrease of 18.81%. Before operations, revenue was 356.31 million bahts, and after operations, it was 289.30 million bahts (reduced by approximately 67 million bahts), with the Red Line generating revenue of 107.29 million bahts, a decrease of 1.79%, and the Purple Line generating revenue of 182.01 million bahts, a decrease of 26.70% due to an increase in service users. Consequently, the revenue loss for both lines has decreased from an expected annual loss of around 300 million bahts to approximately 130 million bahts per month.

Additionally, Mr. Pichet stated that the RTA would expedite the process for the Railway Transport Act B.E….., for which a draft has been proposed. The act will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval. Once enacted, the RTA will have the authority to issue orders and enforce penalties in accordance with the law if operators fail to comply. This includes supervising all aspects of the railway transport system to ensure uniform standards nationwide and bolstering public confidence in rail travel, ensuring safe and reasonably priced fares.

Author: wtahouri

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