Expand myBAS programme, government urged

Ashfar Ali

PETALING JAYA: The government should expand the myBAS model as a long-term solution to intracity bus service woes, says Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association President Ashfar Ali.

Speaking to FMT on the government’s allocation of RM142.7 million to the Interim Stage Bus Support Fund (ISBSF), Ashfar said ideally, the government should expand the myBAS model to all areas nationwide.

“I want to thank the government for extending the interim fund.

“We really appreciate the government’s effort to alleviate operating costs for us and prevent inconveniencing the public.”

He said, however, a long-term solution was needed and this could be done through the expansion of the myBAS model.

The myBAS model, introduced last year, has seen the government bearing operational costs of the stage buses, collecting the fare revenue and paying the bus operators to run the services.

The model is currently being used in Kangar, Ipoh and Seremban. It has been reported that it will be extended to Kuala Terengganu and Johor Baru.

Ashfar said the myBAS model was good as it ensured bus operators of a fixed income, regardless of ridership and ensures uninterrupted service for the public.

He said this was crucial, especially in rural routes, as bus operators who plied unprofitable routes may not be able to sustain themselves and will eventually reduce the number of services, affecting services to the public.

“Towns like Mantin and Jelebu (in Negri Sembilan) do not enjoy the myBAS service. It needs to be expanded to all areas nationwide.

“Either way, the government will be subsidising bus operators.

“Now, the government directly aids those who are suffering losses, but through myBAS, the funds given to operators will come from the revenue pool.”

Ashfar said that if myBAS was expanded to all areas nationwide, the government could better distribute revenue, especially those gained from profitable routes.

Yesterday, it was reported that the government threw more than 60 stage bus operators a lifeline with the RM142.7 million allocation under the ISBSF.

The ISBSF was introduced in 2012 and has benefited over 347 million passengers along 608 routes.

It was previously reported that since the ISBSF’s inception, some RM519 million had been disbursed to enable more than 347 million trips to be made over a distance of nearly 600 million kilometres.

When contacted, a spokesperson for the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) said, at present, its focus was on providing connectivity in capital cities with the myBAS programme.

“We are in discussions to expand the myBAS service beyond the current five state capitals to other state capitals  in Peninsular Malaysia.

“In the meantime, we will ensure connectivity in small towns and districts with the extension of the ISBSF.”