Cost of Songthaew Journeys in City to be Slashed to 10 Baht

 | Fri 29 Aug 2014 17:28 ICT

CityNews – The governor of Chiang Mai has announced a new plan to reduce the costs of songthaews around the city to 10 baht a journey from September 1.Photo: CM108
Suriya Prasartbandit announced at the local government’s weekly press meeting that after the recent re-organisation of public transport around the city, he now plans to reduce the cost of songthaews to 10 baht per journey and five baht for students. The current price for a journey is 20-30 baht. 
The re-organisation has solved some problems regarding public transport in Chiang Mai, but according to the Chiang Mai Transport Cooperative Limited – which represents songthaew drivers – many problems still need to be addressed.
Chiang Mai currently has 2,700 registered songthaews, with 550 of these organised into 11 specific routes around the city.
The announcement has been made following complaints by drivers that not only is there a lack of customers but that the newly assigned routes are hardly used. Drivers also highlighted the price difference between songthaews that drive on specific routes and those that can take passengers anywhere.
The governor hopes that by reducing the cost and making every songthaew charge the same price, people will be encouraged to use public transport more often. Prices will be lowered and price placards changed from September 1.
However, the response by the public and drivers has been mostly negative, with many people saying that 20 baht is still very good value for money and that they would worry about the overall loss of income for the drivers.
One songthaew driver commenting on CM108’s
website said the daily cost of rent and petrol is around 850 baht a day. Under current pricing, drivers receive on average around 1,200 baht per day, leaving around 400 baht to take home. Under the new plans, the driver said, he would have to have more than 200 customers per day to match his current income – which he suggests would be impossible.