KUALA LUMPUR, 18 Nov 2008: The express bus fare increase early next year may be unavoidable despite the fuel price drop.
Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar said the increase or drop in oil price had no connection with public transport fares as the operating costs had been rising, which was the main reason for the bus fare increase.
“The demand made by express bus operators to increase the fare is just not because of the fuel price increase (since before June this year) but the rising operating costs like for batteries, tyres and insurance.
“We take all these factors into consideration and there’s a big possibility that the bus fare will go up next year despite the drop in fuel price,” he said in reply to Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian) in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Salahuddin had asked whether the government planned to reduce the express bus fare nationwide in view of the drop in oil price.
Noh said the last time the bus fare structure was reviewed was in 2005 and the time had come now for the government to consider the express bus operators’ request for another review.
However, he said, the government would ensure that it would not burden the people, especially the poor, the main users of public transport.
“Yet, we have to consider the problems faced by the bus companies, which after running at a loss, may have to sell off some of their buses and reduce trips or even forced to fold up. In the end, the people will suffer.”
To the original question from Abdul Aziz Abdul Kadir (PKR-Ketereh), Noh said there were now nine express bus companies with 157 buses plying the Kota Baharu-Kuala Lumpur route.
He said the number of trips was fixed according to the number of passengers using the service but normally, each bus made 30 trips per week.
“When there are not that many passengers, the bus operators will reduce the trips to save cost.”
On summonses issued by the police and Road Transport Department on bus drivers, Noh said 8,067 were issued for various offences up to August. — Bernama