Bus fares, confusion : a court puts on hold the increases

The inflation tsunami, and the 21 % increase of bus fares, is… delayed. A little bit.

And the situation is getting totally confused.

The Central Administrative Court has issued a temporary injunction against the bus fare hikes in Bangkok that took effect on Sunday, while it hears a case filed by a consumer group against the increases. As a result, city buses return to their old fares from today.

The injunction will last until the court rules on the petition.

The court order does not apply to increases in inter-provincial bus fares, which went up by three satang per kilometre on Sunday.

The court’s temporary injunction was in response to a consumer group, led by Boonchai Rungruengpaisansubus, which asked the Central Administrative Court to declare the fares increases invalid.

Mr Boonchai accused Transport Minister Santi Prompat, Deputy Transport Minister Songsak Thongsri and the Central Land Transport Committee of issuing an illegitimate order approving the Sunday fare increases. (Bangkok Post)

An illegitimate order ? For prices increases ?

As I wrote before : let’s make it Zimbabwe style, and let’s declare inflation illegal ! 😉

The petition argues that private bus operators are still posting operating profits and that many of the buses have already been converted to run on natural gas for vehicles (NGV).

Mr Chaiwat said the order spared inter-provincial buses because of the shortage of natural gas stations in the provinces. A representative of private bus operators in Bangkok running under concessions from the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA), Chatchai Chaiwiset, said they would follow the court order and later appeal against it.

Of more than 10,000 private buses in greater Bangkok, just 1,700 have been modified to run on NGV, he said.

Pending the appeal, the government should help the operators or they would put their diesel-fuelled buses on the road only during rush hours, he said.

We can see the risk here : the private sector could simply reduce the number of its buses ! If they are loosing money on a daily basis, and if the government (or the thai courts) has decided to subsidize the public company like BMTA, then the market would be totally distorted.

Despite the fare increase over the past three days, private operators were still in trouble because commuters had opted to travel on state-run buses that had frozen their fares, he said.

On Sunday, Bangkok bus fares rose by between one baht and 1.50 baht, but the Transport Ministry ordered the state-run BMTA to freeze its fares to help commuters.

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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