For a long time, people have been grumbling that Bangkok doesn’t have a one ticket policy for transport across the capital. Whenever we travel on the subway, skytrain or buses, we have to use different passes for each of them. However, with the introduction of the Rabbit Card on 1st May 2012, we have come a step close to achieving one card for them all. In the first stage, the Rabbit Card can be used on the BTS Skytrain and about 20 retail shops such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Black Canyon, Au Bon Pain, Burger King, Mister Donut, Oishi Group, and selected outlets in Siam Paragon and The Emporium. Towards the end of the year, the Rabbit Card will also be able to be used on the MRT Subway and the BRT Buses.
‘Rabbit’ is modeled on similar international smartcard systems, such as in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and England. During the launch period, holders of BTS smartcards, both stored value and 30-day trip passes, can exchange their cards for ‘Rabbit’ without having to pay an issuing fee. For those not holding a BTS card, ‘Rabbit’ will be available for a special introductory issuing fee of 50 baht plus a 50 baht refundable deposit. BTS’s 30-day trip pass can also be added to the same ‘Rabbit’. The ‘Rabbit’ will be available and can be topped up with cash at all BTS Ticket Offices from 1st May. There are plans to increase ‘Rabbit’ top up channels to include retailers, banks, and other transit system operators in the future.
In addition to the launch of Rabbit, there is also the Rabbit’s affiliated loyalty and points program, ‘Carrot Rewards’, an initiative by Carrot Rewards Co., Ltd. From 1st May, 2012, members can earn ‘Carrot Points’ when they top up their ‘Rabbit’, travel on the BTS and spend at places like McDonald’s. ‘Carrot Points’ can be redeemed for gift certificates such as from McDonald’s, Major, AirAsia and the Mall Group. To become a member of ‘Carrot Rewards’, ‘Rabbit’ holders must first register their card on the Company’s website. In addition to ‘Carrot Points’, they are planning other member benefits such as a network of ‘Carrot Kiosks’ at BTS stations by August. The ‘Carrot Kiosks’ will be for members to check their ‘Carrot Points’ balance, redeem their ‘Carrot Points’ for top up value to their ‘Rabbit’ and to print promotional coupons from fast food chains and other retailers.
It should be noted, that if you are using the new extension from Bearing to On Nut, you need to change your BTS smartcard for the new Rabbit Card. I believe this is because this extension has different owners to the rest of the network. I will be travelling from BTS Bearing on 1st May and I will confirm this information on twitter @RichardBarrow.