THE free school bus initiative by the Federal Territories Ministry will now be expanded to 335 areas in Kuala Lumpur, to benefit about 24,000 students.
Starting next year, residents of 67 People’s Housing Schemes (PPR) and public housing units (PA) as well as 268 other low- and medium-cost housing areas will be able to send their children to school at no cost.
This is almost a threefold increase in the number of students since the programme was initiated in 2017, which is meant to help reduce the financial burden of low-income families.
Previously, the service was only extended to children living in PPRs and PAs.
The programme, which has been rebranded to MySchoolBus, will cost Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) an estimated RM23mil a year.
DBKL executive director for socioeconomic development Datuk Ibrahim Yusoff said 450 school bus operators were expected to take part in the programme.
“We have discussed with the Education Ministry and have narrowed down to 295 schools where these services are in need.
“Operators, who will provide more than 900 vans and school buses, will be paid RM85 per student each month, as long as they fulfil our criteria, ” he said during a briefing for prospective school bus operators on July 18.
He said the initiative, in light of the current economic situation, would help reduce the expenses of low-income earners as well as provide jobs for school bus drivers.
Meanwhile, DBKL Community Development and Urban Wellbeing Department director Anwar Mohd Zain hoped that more operators and drivers would register to join the programme.
“We are currently in the process of finalising the list of areas, and once we have compiled a list of drivers, we can start organising the routes so there are no overlaps, ” he said. — By SHALINI RAVINDRAN
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