From the 1st August 2008 until 31st January 2009 there is free travel on selected non air conditioned BMTA buses and on 164 3rd class SRT commuter and long distance trains.
The details of SRT’s free travel arrangements:
Free travel applies to all rural 3rd class commuter trains. Noted by a train number of 4xx on the timetables. Note: these do not operate into Bangkok.
Free travel applies to all Bangkok commuter trains. Noted by a train number of 3xx on the timetables. Note: These operate mostly at peak times.
Free travel applies to selected intercity 3rd class trains to and from Bangkok. These are Ordinary and some rapid trains marked as 1xx and 2xx on the timetables. The free travel is only valid up to the following stations Chumphon (Main south), Denchai (Main north), Nakhon Ratchasima (korat) and Khon Kaen (North East lines).
Free travel also applies to all Eastern line trains to and from Bangkok except air conditioned express DMUs. Also all Mahachai and Maeklong commuter trains are free.
More details of the exact trains that are free are outlined in the next couple of images. It appears that free travel beyond the cut off stations is possible if you change to a rural commuter train. Doing this may result in very long waits between trains.
This is an image of the notice board at Hualamphong Station showing the trains that free travel is available on. These notices cover services on the main south line and the north eastern lines.
This is an image of the notice board at Hualamphong Station showing the trains that free travel is available on. These notices cover services on the main north line and eastern lines and the Mahachai and Maeklong services.
At some stations a green banner is displayed to show the free train services are now operating and the period in which the free travel is valid for. Taken at Hualamphong Station.
At Hualamphong Station advertising handout such as this one were being given out by station staff to promote the free train services. There will be a total of 164 3rd class trains around Thailand offering free travel from 1st August 2008 to 31st January 2009.
All trains that allow free travel will have Green signs attached to the sides of 3rd class carriages to inform passengers that no ticket is needed for travel on this train. This sign was photographed on the side of a very busy Mahachai commuter train at Bang Bon station.
If you want to see up country Thailand very cheaply and have the time I recommend taking these free trains. But I do advise getting to the station an hour before the train departs to get a seat. All the free trains are non aircon and will be very crowded. This is to be expected with anything that is free in Thailand. Everyone wants to use it. Mid week trains should be less crowded than Friday and weekend trains.
The details of BMTA’s Free travel arrangements.
Also from the 1st of August 2008 there is free travel on 72 BMTA operated bus routes. The free travel only applies to non air conditioned metro buses. These are the Red or White with green strip buses directly owned by the BMTA and not the private white and blue non air conditioned buses.
Not every non aircon bus operated by BMTA is free. All buses that are free will have a white and blue Thai language sign displayed at the front and back of the bus. Using these free buses will save you between 14 and 16 baht per day. But they are very popular and thus very crowded even close to the outer end of the routes. So getting a seat will be hard and even getting in the door maybe hard at peak times.
This is a shot of a Route 105 (blue) Mahachai Mai – Klong San bus displaying the free travel sign. Bus number BMTA 5 – 40301. Bus type Hino high floor. The Free travel sign is the white and blue Thai text sign on the windscreen under the route number.
This is a shot of a Route 68 Samae Dum – Banglamphu bus displaying the free travel sign. Bus number BMTA 5 – 30306. Bus type Merc O405. The free travel sign on this bus is at the bottom of the windscreen.
This is a shot of a Route 68 bus displaying the free travel sign. Bus number BMTA 5 – 30314. Bus type Merc O405. Taken at Central Rama 2 from the foot bridge as it was just finishing taking on a huge load of passengers.
This is another angle on the same route 68 bus. Taken looking west along Rama 2 road. This bus is also displaying a free travel sign at the bottom of the rear window.
Again this free travel only applies to non air conditioned BMTA buses. All air conditioned buses and other private non air conditioned buses you still need to pay to use them. All free buses will display a sign to indicate free travel so keep your eye out for them when travelling.
I hope you find the pictures and vehicles shown to be of interest if you view this please post some comments and feelings about the pictures.