(19 November) Chao Phraya Express Boat Company, which operated the public boat routes along Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, is expecting a total loss of 26 million baht at the end of this year.
Mr. Parinya Rakwathin, General Manager of the company, said this morning that his company has lost 13 million baht throughout last year, and is expected to lose the same amount of money by the end of 2013.
He blamed the loss in the company revenue on the refusal of the Ministry of Transport to approve a fare hike requested by the company. In late 2011, Chao Phraya Express – a private company – submitted a letter asking for an additional fare of 2 baht which would be applied to the distance traveled by each passenger.
“Our service fee is currently based on the oil price at 22 – 25 baht per litre,” said Mr. Parinya, “and the Minister of Transport had previously assured us that there will be other compensation, such as subsidy in fuel price, but nothing has yet been done.”
It is estimated that the Chao Phraya Express service receives over 30,000 passengers a day.
Mr. Chatchart Sittpan, Minister of Transport, confirmed that the Ministry has not considered the plan to increase the express boats fare proposed by the Chao Phraya Express, but he insisted that the Ministry will arrange other compensations to support the company.
For example, he said, the Ministry will persuade more customers to use the service by altering other public transport routes, such as public buses, to be connected with the piers.
The piers would also be organised to be easily accessible by cars and other vehicles, while a strict safety standard and an improved service would be imposed on the boat service. This way, according to Mr. Chatchart, would help the boat provider to enjoy more customers and meet their breakeven point.
“Increasing the fare will be our last option” said Mr. Chatchart, “And if it becomes unavoidable, we are considering to increase the fares in the less-popular routes”.
For comments, or corrections to this article please contact: [email protected]
You can also find Khaosod English on Twitter and Facebook