Final Extension of Free Bus And Train Service?

A free bus in Bangkok in an undated file photo. Photo: Matichon

BANGKOK — Free bus and train services will be extended another five months before being made available only to the registered poor, the interim cabinet approved Tuesday.

Under a budget of nearly 2 billion baht, the free bus and train services will continue through September, after which only low-income citizens who register through the junta’s welfare program will be able ride gratis by presenting their welfare cards.

Though the free train service covers routes throughout the country, the free buses are only available in Bangkok.

This is the 22nd time the free bus and train services have been renewed since starting in 2008.

The program was initiated under the People’s Power Party’s government of Samak Sundaravej. Despite being derided as a populist policy, the program was adopted and reauthorized by all succeeding governments.

Since it came to power in 2014, the military government has extended the service several times. They last announced in November it would end last month, as its new welfare program was expected to be ready in May.

The cabinet today also approved in concept a 50 billion-baht fund to support those in the welfare program. Registration ends Monday.

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