Upset about losing your pre-paid monthly promo cards for the BTS? Well, no, you aren’t getting those back. Not even close. But the BTS has the next best thing for you. Or something like that.
When the BTS discontinued its 30-day trip pass on Sept 1, many passengers complained that their traveling costs, if they were to return to the office, would impose a heavy burden on them. Without the pass, the commuters would have to pay between B16 and B44 per trip, with an additional fee of B15 when traveling from the extended lines (e.g., the line running from Ha Yaek Lat Phrao to Khu Khot).
Instead of bringing back those promo cards, the BTS announced today that it will replace its former promotion with a point reward system, allowing passengers to collect points with every trip and exchange them for free rides.
Under the new system, which will launch on Nov 1, four trips per week get you up to 150 points, and 12 trips or more per week will yield 800 points. Passengers can pile up their points and exchange them for free tickets.
Regular customers can use 300 points to get one free ticket, while students can use 200 points for one free trip. Passengers must pass at least five stations to accumulate their points.
To sweeten the pot, until Jan 31, 2022, points will be doubled.
“For the past 22 years, the BTS has always placed passengers as its first priority… In return for your continued support, the BTS Skytrain unveils its double point reward system, which will last 3 months [from Nov 2021 to Jan 2022],” said Surapong Laoha-anya, the CEO of BTS operator Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc, on the BTS Skytrain’s official Facebook page.
Bangkok has a minimum wage of B331 per day, according to the Ministry of Labor
. Without the 30-day trip passes, minimum wage earners face fares of B32 to B118 for daily round-trip journeys. That would amount to roughly 10-35% of their total earnings spent on BTS fares alone.
While the temporary double points system brings the cost down for a few months, it’s still a wash, at best, in the long run.
The former 30-day pass cost B465 for 15 trips (B31/trip), B725 for 25 (B29/trip), B1080 for 40 (B27/trip), and B1,300 for 50 (B26/trip), all of which had to be used within 30 days of purchase.
Under this new rewards system, however, those who commute twice a day, five days a week, are looking at increased costs—even with the oh-so-generous offer of free trips.
If your journey costs B44 per trip—say, from Ha Yaek Lat Phrao to Asoke—it would typically cost you B1,760/month. Factoring in the one free trip you can earn traveling according to this schedule, your BTS expenditure will be B1,276/month. That’s over B31/trip.