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School, factory bus operators unwilling to lease buses for festive rush

KUALA LUMPUR, 2 Sept 2008: No additional bus service is expected to meet the balik-kampung rush for this year’s festive holidays following refusal by school bus and factory bus operators nationwide to lease their buses for the purpose.

Pan Malaysia Bus Operator Association president Datuk Mohamed Ashfar Ali said that based on quotations submitted by its members, many of the school bus and factory bus operators were not keen to lease their buses.

"We too can’t offer a higher lease quotation, because we don’t make much profit either and the government won’t let us raise the fare," he said when contacted today.
He said although the government had promised to increase the quota for diesel subsidy, there were still many bus operators who did not benefit from the facility.

This, he added, was also the reason for many operators of express buses and stage buses having to shoulder up to 70% of their diesel needs without subsidy.

Mohamed Ashar said the association had been asking to be allowed to increase bus fares since last year to cope with the increasing cost of maintenance and oil price hike.

On the 30% surcharge allowed by the government for the Hari Raya season, effective for one month from 15 Sept, he said, it was not enough to give the express bus operators sufficient capital to lease additional buses.

He suggested that the government increased the surcharge to enable express bus companies to obtain adequate capital for purpose of getting additional buses. – Bernama

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