PETALING JAYA: Bus operators will not reduce their ticket prices despite the reduction in the price of diesel.
Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali said the price of diesel only made up a small fraction of operational costs.
“Fuel is a small component in operational costs as there are also factors such as employees’ wages,” he said.
In September 2013, when the pump price of diesel was increased by 20 sen to RM2, a report cited the Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Lorry Operators Association as stating that the cost of diesel made up 30% to 40% of operating costs.
He said ticket prices for express buses were last increased in 2008, but the operational costs went up by between 30% and 40% since then.
Ashfar said consumers needed to understand that bus operators had to shoulder other operational costs, adding that the current minimum wage, for example, was RM900.
“Buses run daily, even on public holidays, so we need to pay our employees double or triple their daily wage on these days which goes into our operational costs,” he said.
He said the association hoped that the Government would de-regulate the fare of express buses.
“As with airline tickets and hotel rates, prices of bus tickets should be based according to supply and demand,” he said, adding that with a de-regulation, cheaper bus tickets could be sold during certain periods.
In Johor Baru, Johor Lorry Operators Association president Anthony Tan said the decline in diesel prices did not necessarily mean that transportation charges would also come down.
He said it was still early to know whether operators would reduce their charges, adding that there were other factors that caused them to continue charging the old rates.
“These include high prices of spare parts which we have to import, the declining of the ringgit and high labour costs,” he added.
Tan said market forces would decide whether the charges would come down or go up as the association was not allowed to inform members of the rates under the Anti-Competition Act.
He said it was up to the individual operators to deal with their clients on whether to reduce or maintain the charges based on the willing acceptance and agreement between both parties.
“For us, what’s more important is that the price of diesel continues to stabilise,” he added.