Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cabinet approves new bus, taxi fares

KUALA LUMPUR: Passengers will have to fork out about 30% more for public transport fares beginning next month.

The Cabinet had on June 17 agreed to the fare increase for taxis, rental cars and express, stage and school buses and other types of transport.

However, in announcing the increase Thursday, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abd Aziz said public transport companies were also expected to improve the level of their service in line with the raise in fares.

“I don’t think the public will be shocked by the increase as they have been conditioned for it. The proposed increase has been reported for some time.

“The increase is reasonable, having taken into consideration the various initiatives and subsidies given by the Government to the public transport sector, and the affordability of the passengers, many of whom are in the lower income group,” he told reporters after giving permits to 831 taxi drivers here.

The fare structure would be reviewed every year for monitoring purposes, he added.

Nazri said among measures to enhance their service, public transport firms were expected to adhere to Government’s guidelines for an efficient management of its fleet, display the fare schedule in all their vehicles and ensure training for all their drivers as well as cooperating with authorities to set up a databank of drivers’ records to aid enforcement against those blacklisted.

Others were 25% discount to the disabled and senior citizens, the streamlining of fares for Sabah and Sarawak, installation of global positioning system and phasing out non-air conditioned buses by the year 2010.

“If we don’t allow the increase, there may not be any service as no operator will be able to break even or profit,” he said, adding that one reason some taxi drivers did not want to use meters for their trips was because the current fares were too low.

Among the increases, the flag-off fare for taxis is now RM3, up from RM2, while passengers will be charged 10 sen for every 115 metres instead of 150m previously.

For those taxis caught in traffic jam, the fares will be RM3 for the first three minutes and 10 sen for every subsequent 21 seconds, instead of 45 seconds previously.

Express bus fares are up by two sen per kilometre while for stage buses in Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding areas, the increase will be between 25 sen to 70 sen according to different zones.

Schoolbus fares in urban areas will also increase from RM21.10 to RM27.43 for the first kilometer and from RM1.55 to RM2.02 for every subsequent kilometre. For those operating in rural areas, the increase will be from RM15.85 to RM20.61 for every kilometre.

The last fare increase for taxis, express and stage buses was in 2005 while for schoolbuses, it was in 2006.

Puspakom, added Nazri, had also agreed to reduce its fees to calibrate the taxi meter to reflect the new fare schedule from RM50 to RM10.

Asked if the ministry would put up a hotline for passengers to call in with their grouses, Nazri said they should instead write to him or the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board with full details of their complaints.

Nazri said bus companies should also take it upon themselves to negotiate with toll concessionaires for them to enjoy a 20% discount for using toll more than 80 times per month announced recently.

Currently, there are 9,061 stage buses, 4,998 express buses, 19,128 rental cars and 32,921 taxis operating in the country.

Taken from The Star Online.

Passengers will have to fork out about 30% more for public transport fares beginning next month. Are you ok with it?

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