SIBU, Aug 30: The Sarawak Bus Transport Companies Association (SBTCA) wants the government to continue the RM1 flat bus fare as it benefits bus companies and the public.
Its advisor Lau Khing Seng said today that due to the flat rate, more people are using buses to travel to the town area instead of using their own vehicles.
“There is less congestion in cities and towns now as people are taking buses. This helps to ease traffic congestion and parking problems when people drive to the town centre. With less cars on the road, the the environment is also cleaner,” he enthused.
By way of comparison, he pointed out the one-way bus fare from Sibu Jaya to the town centre covering a distance of 28km is between RM5.90 to RM6.60. However with the flat rate, residents in Sibu Jaya need only to pay RM1 for the fare.
“If one is to drive from Sibu Jaya to the town centre, petrol expenses are about RM15 and moreover you also need to spend on parking fees,” he said.
Lau said with the flat rate, bus companies used to make losses every month due to fewer passengers.
“But now we can break even from losses previously. This is good, though profit is much better for our survival,” he said.
He reckoned that since the implementation of the flat rate, illegal taxis and ‘kereta sewa’ had decreased as there were few takers for their service.
Transport Minister Datuk Lee Khim Sim had on August 27, cited that there had been an increase in the use of urban public bus transport.
He said data collected showed that the overwhelming response to this programme is reflected in the significant increase in stage bus ridership from 12,657 in May 2020 to 247,772 in July 2020
Kuching recorded the highest increase in ridership of 153 per cent from 17,242 to 45,026 followed by Miri (119 per cent rise from 23,204 to 50,851) and Sibu (71 per cent increase from 36,11 to 61,996).
The programme was approved by the state government on May 4,2020. It was launched by Lee as the Transport Minister on May 12 in Miri, on May 20 in Sibu and on May 21 in Kuching.
Its main objectives are to encourage more commuters to use bus public transport, provide opportunities for bus companies to improve services and reduce urban traffic congestion.
Twelve bus companies are participating in the programme—four in Kuching, five in Sibu and three in Miri. — DayakDaily