2142) ARKIB BERITA PPIM – 4/10/2014 MALAY MAIL – No Ceiling Fee Cause For Worry, Says Parents
20 Oct 2014
Fixed school bus fares will be lifted starting January next year. — Picture by Azinuddin GhazaliPETALING JAYA, Oct 4 — A mother of four, who wished to be known as Nisah, spends around RM60 a month to transport her two children to and from school.
She said it is worrying because bus drivers raise prices whenever they feel like it.
“Bus fare will soon be a burden for me with another child starting school next year,” she said when asked about the Land and Public Transport Commission’s (SPAD) decision to deregulate the fare.
Yesterday, SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said even with the existing system, which last saw a fare hike in 2009, some school bus operators are already ignoring the ceiling rate and charging far higher fees based on their own operating costs.
He said because of this, SPAD leaves it to the parents and school bus operators to negotiate the fare.
Sales executive Vanitha Murugasan said she would have no choice but to comply with the rates quoted by school bus operators because it is difficult to find transport where she lives.
“It took me a while to find a bus with an affordable fare and the idea of looking for another seems impossible,” she said.
“The current bus driver ensures that my daughter reaches the apartment block before driving off.”
Bank officer Patrick John Pereira said although low prices would be better, other factors play a part as well.
“I would have to see what kind of vehicle is used as well as safety issues. If the service is good, I would not hesitate on the price,” he said.
Pereira spends RM130 on transport each month for his two sons and foresees bus drivers exploiting this loophole as there is no form of control.
Malaysian Muslim Consumers’ Association president Datuk Nadzim Johan shared the same sentiment.
“Businesses and organisations in Malaysia are not able to live on ethics,” he said.
He also said consumers did not have bargaining power and would fall prey to those who demand for higher rates.
Meanwhile, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca) president,
Datuk Paul Selvaraj, said SPAD should recruit more bus drivers to provide healthy competition among the industry players.
“Competition will stabilise bus fares and the prices would not see a great hike as people tend to favour more affordable rates,” he said.
“At the same time, SPAD should regulate a stricter safety standard for the drivers to adhere.”
It was reported that the current regulations set by the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) allowed urban school bus operators to charge RM27.43 for the first kilometre and RM2.02 for subsequent kilometres.
Those operating in rural areas can charge RM20.61 for the first kilometre and RM2.02 for subsequent kilometres.