PETALING JAYA: Even in the face of impending school bus fare increases, parent-teacher associations (PTAs) may not be the best party to provide school bus services to students as most already have way too much on their plates.
According to SMK USJ 12 PTA committee member P.C. Yeoh, it was doubtful that PTAs would have the manpower and expertise to run the school bus business.
“The PTA should be focused on its primary roles. Having to run a school bus service would divert its attention. Can they guarantee reliable service at a cheaper price without cutting corners?” Yeoh asked yesterday.
“Furthermore, students from the school may not come from the same neighbourhood, so there is also the challenge of route optimisation,” he added.
Yeoh also expressed his concern that individuals with vested interests could possibly lobby to be on the PTA board in order to land the school bus contract, instead of parents who have genuine interest in championing student welfare.
It was reported on Sunday that the Land Public Transport Commision gave the green light for PTAs to run their own fleet of buses to serve their students, while parents were given the permission to engage independent operators.
The move was announced following demands by school bus operators to raise their fares starting this new school year.
Yeoh acknowledged that there were problems faced by parents who relied on school bus services.
“The increase in bus fare is a burden to parents but many of them have no choice but to engage the service. Sometimes, there are too many students on a bus that the last student has to wait for more than an hour before reaching home after school,” said Yeoh.
SK Bukit Damansara chairman Nik Faruk Sadzil said the Government should not be hasty in the decision to liberalise the school bus service sector.
“PTAs should be consulted on this matter. We are talking about the safety of our children here. Licences for the school bus service should not be given out freely,” said Nik Faruk, who agreed that PTAs did not have the manpower to provide school bus services.
“Parents who join the PTA are rendering a social service to the school. Running a school bus service involves a lot of work. For instance, the PTA will have the additional task of collecting the bus fare every month,” said Nik Faruk.
No problem if PTAs want to ferry kids, say bus operators