First 'Spider' cards roll out for new ticketing system

The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) has produced 200,000 "Mangmoom" (Spider) cards for test runs of a planned common ticketing system for public transport in Bangkok as it prepares to transfer authority of the system to the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA).

According to OTP director-general Chaiwat Tongkamkoon, the MRTA is set to oversee the common ticketing system as a result of a cabinet decision regarding how it should be managed.

The MRTA will hold a board meeting on Sept 18 to discuss a memorandum of understanding (MOU) concerning the system with the Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) and the Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc (BEM).

The MOU will allow for the common ticketing system to be installed in skytrain and subway stations. The MRTA will establish a separate company to oversee all operations and maintenance of the new system.

Mr Chaiwat said all free bus and train services will end on Oct 1, as welfare cards for the poor will be available to those who register as low-income earners with the Ministry of Finance.

Card-holders will get a monthly allowance of 1,500 baht, with 500 baht each for bus, train and van fares. The fares cannot be used interchangeably.

Mr Chaiwat said that when the system is fully installed on the State Railway of Thailand's Airport Link Line, the 500-baht allowance for trains may also be used on this line. "However, the initial operating stages for public buses will be difficult," he said. "Once the public gets used to the system they will adjust to it."

According to government policy, those who earn less than 100,000 baht per year can be considered low-income earners. More than 11 million Thais are registered as being in need of state welfare.

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