BANGKOK — The operators of tourist boats on the Chao Phraya River announced they will launch air-conditioned commuter boats there and on the Khlong Saen Saep by early 2020.
Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram of the firm which operates the current river boats said the service would increase commuters’ use of the river and canal as viable routes.
“We want everyone to use public boat transport. … The company has operated for nearly 100 years and no boat has ever capsized. We want operators to compete more on quality and services,” Supapan said.
Commuters of the new air-conditioned boats will not have to bear the heat, rain and occasional splash of fetid canal water, Supapan said, adding that they will try to get included on the long-promised-but-forever-delayed universal transport ticket system planned for the Skytrain, subway and bus lines.
The operators plan to charge a minimum fare of 50 baht, however, which is roughly four times the current minimum fare for air-conditioned public buses. The current Chao Phraya boats cost 15 baht.
Supapan said she is aware that public transportation fares are state-regulated and urged understanding, given high petrol prices and the fact the planned boats will be made of aluminum instead of iron and wood to make them lighter and more fuel efficient.
She said the company plans to launch with four to six boats at the start.