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TEST YOURSELF: Fare not fair

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Costs to use Bangkok's buses have increased, but quality of service has moved in the other direction

Test Yourself is where you can improve your reading skills. Whether it’s for tests like University Entrance Exams or IELTS and TOEFL, or even just for fun, these pages help you to read, understand and improve your English.

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Read the following story by Suwitcha Chaiyong from the Bangkok Post. Then, answer the questions that follow.

Bangkok's buses are known to offer a Fast And Furious kind of ride. Years ago, the No.8 was voted worst in the city in the Transport Ministry's Facebook survey, due to the horrible experience. Despite a sudden change in driver and conductor behaviour after the survey was released, many public buses are still notorious for their impolite and inefficient services, as well as poor facilities, among many other things.

So it comes as no surprise that recent news of increased fares has sparked public outcry. Starting on April 22, fares were raised by 1-7 baht, depending on the type of bus. As of now, fares for ordinary and air-conditioned buses have increased by 1-5 baht. A further increase will be applied on April 22 next year.

Certainly, the price hike affects regular commuters, especially low- and middle-class workers. To raise concern on behalf of the public, the Foundation for Consumers has voiced opposition to the Bangkok bus-fare hike, saying there is no guarantee that higher prices equate to better service. Also, the foundation said the higher prices will set a model for other modes of public transport, such as vans and shuttle boats, to follow suit.

We spoke to four bus commuters as to how the increased fares affect them and what kind of improved service they wish to see in return.

Malee Poomsirirat, 59. Employee at a private company

How often do you use the public bus?

Every day.

Does the increased fare affect you?

Not yet. I'm using a weekly card, which costs 200 baht, and I still have the cards. If BMTA [Bangkok Mass Transit Authority] raises the price of the cards, I'll be miserable.

Have you used other public transportation?

No. The BTS and MRT are expensive. And if I want to take the BTS or MRT, there will be a very long walk.

What would you like the BMTA to improve?

I wish there would be more buses. If I pay more and can get a seat, I think it's worth it. In the evening, I sometimes have to take a motorcycle taxi, because the bus is too crowded to board.

Wieng Wattana, 51. Employee at a private company

How often do you use the public bus?

On weekdays.

Does the increased fare affect you?

Not much. I usually pay 9 baht for a trip. Now, it’s increased to 10 baht.

Have you used other public transportation?

No. I take a bus to work and barely go to other places.

What would you like the BMTA to improve?

The driving is very scary. They should be more careful. Some drivers park their buses and wait for more passengers for too long. The BMTA should improve the conditions of buses. Fans on buses are usually out of order, making it extremely hot inside.

Pimlapas Paothong, 20. University student

How often do you use the public bus?

Six times a week.

Does the increased fare affect you?

Yes. I used to pay 13 baht, but now the fare is 17 baht. The route is very short and the buses are in poor condition. I'm not OK with it.

Have you used other public transportation?

I sometimes take the BTS, but it is too jam-packed in the morning and evening. It also breaks down too often.

What would you like the BMTA to improve?

They should improve the condition of the buses. If they are in good condition, I'll feel fine with the rising fares.

Boonyarat Chumkong, 24. Manager at a private company

How often do you use the public bus?

Six to seven days a week.

Does the increased fare affect you?

Yes. I take buses with my girlfriend, and now I have to pay around 17-18 baht per person for a trip. I pay much the same price for a taxi, which is more convenient.

Have you used other public transportation?

I use both MRT and BTS. I like them more because they are fast and convenient.

What would you like the BMTA to improve?

They should have more buses during peak hours.

Section 1: Read through the story and answer the following questions. 

1. Which commuter is oldest? …………….

2. Who uses the buses daily? …………….

3. Who takes the bus with a friend? …………….

4. Who complains about buses waiting for passengers? …………….

5. Who uses one other form of public transport? …………….

6. Who mentions the temperature on the buses? …………….

7. Who compares bus and taxi fares? …………….

8. When will the next fare increase happen? …………….

Section 2: Underline one grammatically incorrect word in each sentence and write the correct word in the space given. 

9. The roof leaking during rainy season. .……………

10. The No.39, which is run by private operators, provides very worse service. ……………

11. Bus conductors didn't give me a ticket even after I’d pay my fare. ……………

12. Drivers don't have disciplined and they drive dangerously. .……………

13. And they should letting us pay by using BTS's Rabbit card or the MRT card. .……………

Section 3: Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.

Buses are in poor condition and they don't arrive …14… . I have to wait for a long time. I …15… there would be more buses. Some drivers and bus conductors are impolite and I …16… see drivers using their mobile phones while driving. They should have new buses and more …17… staff. …18…, I like it when drivers go really fast because I can arrive at my destination on time. But buses have …19… schedules. 

14. a. seldom b. often  c. usually

15. a want. b. wish c. promise

16. a. never  b. often c. probably

17. a. politeness b. polite c. politer

18. a. Badly b. Usually c. Actually

19. a. unpredictable b. predictable c. predicting

Section 4: Find words or phrases that match the following definitions.

20. a large or sudden increase. ……………

21. the act of strongly disagreeing with something. ……………

22. very bad or unpleasant. ……………

23. a reaction of anger or strong protest shown by people. ……………

24. well known for being bad. ……………

Answers: 1. Malee. 2.  Malee.  3. Boonyarat.  4. Wieng.  5. Pimlapas.  6. Wieng.   7. Boonyarat.    8. April 22, 2020. 

9. leaking/leaks  10. worse/bad 11. pay/paid  12. disciplined/discipline  13. letting/let  

14. b. 15. b.  16. b. 17. b. 18. c.  19. a.

20. hike. 21. opposition. 22. horrible.   23. outcry.   24. notorious.

SCORE

21-24: Excellent! 17-20: Good.   13-16: Fair.   12 or fewer: You'll do better next time!

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