SIBU: The state government is urged to continue with the RM1 flat rate bus fare introduced in May.
Sarawak Bus Transport Company Association adviser Lau Khing Seng said since the programme was implemented on May 12, it has benefited not only the bus companies and the public but also the environment.
He said due to the flat rate, more people were using buses to get around instead of driving their own vehicles.
“There is less congestion in cities and towns now as people are taking the bus.
“This helps ease traffic congestion and parking problems when people drive to the town centre. With less cars on the road, the environment is also cleaner, ” said Lau.
For example, he said the one-way bus fare from Sibujaya to the town centre, covering a distance of 28km, cost between RM5.90 and RM6.60.
“But with the flat rate, residents in Sibujaya need only pay RM1.
“If one is to drive from Sibujaya to the town centre, petrol consumption could cost about RM15 and there is also the parking fee to consider, ” he said.
He said since the implementation of the flat rate, illegal taxi service here dropped as there were few takers for their service.
Transport Minister Datuk Lee Khim Sim had on Aug 27 said there has been an increase in the use of urban public bus transport.
He said data showed that the overwhelming response to the programme was reflected in the significant increase in stage bus ridership, from 12,657 in May 2020 to 247,772 in July 2020.
Kuching recorded the highest increase in ridership, from 17,242 to 45,026 followed by Miri (from 23,204 to 50,851) and Sibu (from 36,191 to 61,996).
The programme’s main objectives are to encourage more people to use public bus transport, provide opportunities for bus companies to improve services and reduce urban traffic congestion.
A total of 12 bus companies are participating in the programme.
There are four in Kuching, Sibu (five) and Miri (three).