Express bus fares are up 30% nationwide

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SEREMBAN: Express bus fares are already up 30% nationwide.

The Government has allowed a one-month surcharge for express bus fares during Hari Raya last year, and never revoked, to be made permanent.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the increase would be “most minimal” and not hurt consumers and the exact quantum would be announced soon.

Express bus companies were only allowed to impose the surcharge for a month during Hari Raya last year but the government allowed an indefinite extension following appeal by operators.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said since the government had allowed operators to impose the surcharge since then, it cannot allow another hike in quick succession.

Citing an example, he said the one-way bus fare for the Seremban-Kuala Lumpur route which used to be RM4.70 before the surcharge was imposed was increased to RM6 during the Hari Raya period. This was not reduced since then.

He was talking to reporters after handing over taxi permits to 73 individuals from the state here.

Nazri said the Commercial vehicles Licensing Board was in the final stages of coming up with the new fare increase structure for buses and taxis.

“We are getting feedback from the relevant ministries and once this is done, I will get the final approval from the Cabinet before announcing it,” he said.

On a separate matter, Nazri warned bus and taxi operators not to allow foreigners to drive their vehicles.

He said both operator, be it an individual or a taxi driver would be slapped with a RM300 compound each if caught.

“I have friends who tell me that they are greeted with “nak ke mana pak” (where do you wish to go Sir) by Indonesian taxi drivers at KLIA.

“Also, we have Pakistani cabbies who drive around KL not knowing where KLCC is,” he said adding that this was bad for the image of taxi drivers.

He said the problem was serious and that the CVLB would not compromise with operators caught committing the offence.

Asked why the CVLB would give two warnings to such operators instead of automatically revoking their permits, Nazri said the board did not wish to be too strict as some of the operators had loans to service.

“If they are unable to service their loan, even the banks will suffer. But we would not compromise on the RM300 compound each for both parties,” he said.

Nazri said the CVLB received 7,586 applications for permits from individual taxi drivers when the “application window” was opened between July and Oct last year.

The board approved half the applications with 2,897 issued in the Federal Territory, Selangor and Negri Sembilan alone.

He said since the government now allowed taxi drivers to use their vehicles for up to 10 years from seven previously, they could also apply for loans from Mara, Bank Rakyat and SME Bank which provided lower interest rates. – The Star Online