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Transport Co. to Eat Higher Fuel Cost, Freeze Fares

Announcement comes day after bus lines threaten to cut service

Transport Co. Inter-Provincial Bus Line Operator Thailand

A day after interprovincial bus operators threatened to limit or halt some service along some routes if they weren’t given a fare increase, Thailand’s largest long-haul bus line said it would eat higher fuel costs and freeze fares.

Transport Co. Managing Director Sanyalak Panwattanalikhit said the company has been affected by the increase in the price of diesel fuel, but it has no plans to halt services and will not increase prices.

He admitted Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob pushed the company to hold the line on fares.

Pichet Jiamburaset, president of the Thai Bus Business Association, said Monday that private bus operators no longer can cope with increased expense of higher diesel prices. The cost of diesel currently stands at 34 baht per liter, up from 27 baht in 2017.

Pichet said cutting routes or frequencies was the last resort to stay in business and prevent a total shutdown. He noted that if the services were to continue, they would be responsible for approximately 1,400 baht in gasoline costs a trip.

Transport Co. operates 18 routes to the Northeast and the East, 14 routes to the North and 15 routes to the South and will open 10 international routes on June 15.

After relaxation of the Covid-19 restrictions, the number of passengers has increased by about 30%, Sanyalak said.

Kla Party leader Korn Chatikavanij on Friday proposed a three-point plan to assist people affected by rising fuel prices, including changing the kingdom’s refining profit ceiling. He added that refining profit has nearly doubled to 8.5 baht a liter, up from 0.87 baht in June 2021 and 0.88 baht the year prior.

According to the former finance minister, a greater margin is a financial burden on customers and the Oil Fund, which subsidizes oil prices and is currently 86 billion baht in the red.

Korn also suggested enacting a windfall tax law and launching an energy-saving campaign after the first four months of the year saw a 15% spike in fuel use.