Quality must rise along with fares, public transport group tells government

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PETALING JAYA: The Public Transport Users Association (4PAM) agrees with the government’s plan to increase express bus fares but cautions that the rights of users must be kept in mind as well.

“We don’t mind the increase, but what will the passengers get in return?

“From the passengers’ point of view, higher prices should also mean higher quality,” 4PAM president Ajit Johl told FMT.

He said it was important to protect the rights of users, adding that there were currently no measures in place for this as regulations and laws on the matter were very weak.

Yesterday, the transport ministry said Putrajaya was considering an increase in express bus fares, which have remained unchanged since 2009.

Deputy Transport Minister Kamarudin Jaffar said any increase would be reasonable, to help express bus operators without burdening users.

Ajit called for the establishment of a public transport tribunal to allow users to take action against operators, including claims for damages.

“What assurance is there to a passenger that a bus company will not use drivers who are on drugs, for example? The directors of the company are not held responsible.”

Likewise, he urged the government to prioritise the creation of a platform to allow users to voice their complaints.

“This will encourage people to stop using cars and move us towards better quality in public transportation.”

He also suggested that any increase in fares be put on hold until the industry becomes more transparent.

“Regulations for airlines are strict; why can’t we have the same for public transportation?” he added.