Improving public services

Planning hard: Lee (right) discussing with Mohd Khairul (second right) and other officials yesterday during a public bus dialogue in Miri.

MIRI: There is an urgent need to come out with a comprehensive solution in order to improve the public bus services for the cities and towns in Sarawak.

This should be jointly done by government authorities, Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) and the bus companies, so that the public can enjoy a better transport service.

State Assistant Minister for Communications, Datuk Lee Kim Shin, yesterday held a meeting with CVLB state director Mohd Khairul Hafiz and the management of the major bus companies in Miri City to discuss current problems surrounding the city bus services here.

During the past two years, there have been many complaints from the public of inefficient bus services, of many residential estates that had been deprived of bus routes due to cancellation because bus companies had complained of high operating costs and the difficulty in finding qualified bus drivers.

Lee, who is State Assemblyman for Senadin and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) vice-president, tried to get all the relevant stakeholders to find an amicable solution to the public bus transportation woes, especially here in Miri City that has a population of 350,000 people.

“The federal land transport commission (SPAD) is trying out a pilot project in seven cities in the country to come up with a better public transport system.

“In Sarawak, Kuching City had been chosen as venue for the pilot federal project.

“While this is going on, we in Sarawak must try to also come up with immediate solutions to solve the current public bus transportation woes we are facing in other urban centres, especially here in Miri City.

“People in certain places in the city have complained of lack of public bus services, while bus companies have claimed they are facing high operating costs, lack of passengers and lack of qualified drivers.

“That is why they are cutting down on the routes they served. Today, I have called all the relevant parties involved in the public bus transport sectors to come together so that we can work out an amicable solution that is acceptable to all.

“The Government is already providing subsidised diesel at 32 cents per litre for bus companies, with each bus eligible for 1,000 litres of this subsidised diesel per month.

“We the government wants to see a win-win situation for all because public bus services is still an important component of urban life,” he said.

Lee said he had asked all parties to come up with concrete proposals within the next month on how to thoroughly improve the bus services in Miri.

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