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BANGKOK 22 February 2019 01:13

setbkk

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  1. Heard via TV and other sources that all BTS rabbit cards need to be registered by 15 Feb because of anti-laundering regulations (which itself is a bit of a joke). Criminals want to launder money via rabbit cards - <deleted>! As we all know, most BTS station ticket agent lines are really long lately (partially because obsolete ticket machines do not accept paper currency). Found a station with no line to make things easy. Presented rabbit card and passport with request for registration. Response from agent was a puzzled look and "huh". Repeated the request, got another "huh". Finally agent got the idea of what I wanted. She pulled out a little terminal and took a picture of passport. My thoughts: okay BTS is pretty advanced, registration is done. No way. Agent spent the next 5 minutes typing all my passport info into the little terminal via a tiny keyboard. Next request: phone number which took another 2 minutes to type in. Then a piece of paper was presented: address please. Gave agent a very abbreviated address to keep thing very simple. Agent had to confer with other agent for unknown reasons. Another 2 minutes typing that info in the tiny terminal. Then scanned my rabbit card and I was good to go (hopefully). Total elapsed time: about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, about 25 people were lined up behind me waiting for change, rabbit top-up or ticket. Totally dysfunctional system to register rabbit cards. Expect super long lines after 15 Feb when rabbit card top-ups get rejected and people realize they have to register their cards. Lots of angry people with rabbit cards having to feed coins into ticket machines (and maybe waiting in line to get coins) because rabbit card no good. While there, I wanted to purchase 4 more rabbit cards for friends that will be visiting later this month (hate standing in lines to buy a ticket, even using the machines). Agent started processing my request. Apologized profusely to the nice, very patient Thai guy behind me. He talked to agent. He told me the same process would have to be repeated each time for each rabbit card. I was incredulous, gave up, sort of happy with my one registered rabbit card. Could you imagine the pissed off people in line behind me if I bought 4 more rabbit cards wasting 40 minutes of the their time. As far as I can tell, BTS has nothing to advertise this new requirement. It seems that they need to create dedicated stations set up to register rabbit cards so the normal agent windows do not get horribly backed up beyond what they are already at. Seems unlikely they can put this together in the next few days. I cannot imagine what is going to happen at Silom and Asoke BTS stations when the s*** hits the fan. I doubt if BTS management reads TV. Sure hope they do and they get their act together immediately. Otherwise, expect a totally dysfunctional BTS for the next few months or so (and lots of very annoyed rabbit users that were blind sighted by this unannounced change). Of course, the rabbit users can always drive, walk, take motocys, taxis or buses - all horrible alternatives to a nice public transit system that is about to become dysfunctional. Just my 2 satangs worth
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