KUCHING, Dec 19: RM1 Flat Rate Bus Fare programme will be extended to next year after receiving positive responses from the public, said Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin.
According to Lee, the program, which was launched in May this year, is intended to encourage more people to use public bus transport and to reduce the number of private vehicles on the roads.
He said it also helps to mitigate urban traffic congestion and even environmental pollution emitted from a total of 831,705 registered vehicles throughout the state, including motorcars, motorcycles and buses.
“Due to the very good responses from the public, the State Government has made a decision on Dec 17, 2020, to continue the implementation of RM1 Flat Rate Bus Fare Programme to next year (2021),” he said in a press statement today.
Lee also expressed his gratitude to the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and the State Government for the continuation of the program, which would benefit more people.
He revealed with the proposed revival of bus services by interested bus companies, the program will also be extended to Bintulu starting early 2021, which will help to expand the programme coverage in the state.
He said more and more people are expected to benefit from this program, especially those in the rural areas, and in addition, the Ministry of Transport Sarawak (MOTS) will carry out a feasibility study on the provision of such services in other towns in the state.
“In order to further improve this program, efforts will be made by MOTS, together with the relevant agencies especially the Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) Sarawak and the local authorities to improve the related infrastructure including upgrading and building new bus stations and bus stops in the State,” he noted.
At the same time, Lee emphasised that buses should be the cornerstone of transportation particularly in urban areas, and bus services under this programme offer affordable mobility that connects citizens with every aspect of their lives.
He said starting next year, a special programme called Awareness Behavioral Change (ABC) will be implemented by the Ministry of Transport, Sarawak to encourage more people especially the children to use bus public transport instead of using their public vehicles for going to work and schools as well as other purposes.
“We take cognizance that better bus systems will create better cities and towns for the people. The implication of subpar bus services falls heavily on the most vulnerable members of the society especially those categorised under B40 group. It is expected that through this programme, the bus services will be more inclusive and provide better services to the people.
“For this reason, the Ministry of Transport, Sarawak through this programme aspires to provide a safe, reliable, affordable and comfortable bus public transport services in the State will also become the preferred mode of transport particularly in the urban and suburban areas,” he said.
Lee also urged the public at large to give themselves the opportunity to travel using bus public transport including for the purpose of visiting tourism places of interest in the State.
“This will certainly augur well with the State Government initiative to promote domestic tourism in view of the restrictions and challenges from Covid-19 pandemic,” he added. –DayakDaily.