Price hikes for school bus fares unfair for parents, says group


PETALING JAYA: The Public Transport Users Association (4PAM) strongly believes it is time for a Public Transport Tariff Review Committee to be set up immediately to avoid sudden price hikes.

Speaking to FMT, 4PAM president Ajit Johl said while price hikes are expected with increasing business costs, a knee-jerk reaction should be avoided at all cost.

He was commenting on a report that school bus fares would go up between RM10 and RM20 when the new school term starts in January.

Federation of Malaysian School Bus Operators Association president Mohd Rofik Mohd Yusof said Tuesday he had received feedback from its 18,000 members that they did not wish to increase their fares but had to as they could no longer continue absorbing escalating operating costs.

He claimed members had to absorb a 50-80% increase in prices of spare parts, mainly due to the weaker ringgit.

Ajit said the increase, which is about 15% to 25%, is relatively high and not fair to parents.

“We are not against price hikes but it cannot be this high and it is too sudden.

“If we have a Public Transport Tariff Committee, we can have a discussion with all stakeholders on the prices. We can do some research and any increase would not be this much.

“We had suggested having this committee in our wishlist for the 2017 Budget. If only the government had accepted this suggestion, this price hike could have been avoided.”

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) vice-president Yusof Abdul Rahman said parents with many school-going children will be badly affected.

He said a discussion between parents and school bus operators was needed.

He added if there was no platform to address the issue, schools should play a role in assisting such discussions.