BATU CAVES: School bus operators are at a loss after the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) ceased accepting and processing new permit applications from Dec 1.
This complicated matters for some 12,000 school bus operators nationwide as SPAD will only be replaced by APAD (Agensi Pengangkutan Awam Darat) on Jan 14, said the Federation of Malaysian School Bus Operators Associations.
This meant that during the interim period, no new permits could be issued and this affected school bus operators, particularly those living in the outskirts, as they only have time during the school holidays to buy new buses and obtain its permits before the new school year starts in January, said its president Amali Munif Rahmat.
“SPAD only issued a notice about the cessation on Nov 15, a mere two weeks before they stopped taking permit applications.
“During November and December which are the school holidays, school bus operators usually take this time to buy new buses to replace their old ones. It’s the only free period they have.
“Before the bus can be used to ferry kids, we have to get approval from a number of agencies including a permit from SPAD.
“But since SPAD has stopped accepting new applications from Dec 1, we don’t know what to do as APAD, which is supposed to replace SPAD, does not yet exist.
“We don’t know who to turn to or what’s the story,” said Amali after the 46th annual general meeting of the school bus associations yesterday.
He said APAD, which is supposed to begin operation on Jan 14, was still a grey area as the Transport Ministry had yet to disclose the lineup.
“SPAD will only exist for 10 more days but we don’t even know who will head APAD.
“We don’t know how APAD will operate or when it will allow applications for permits. This does not only affect school bus operators but all transport operators as well,” said Amali.
He also expressed disappointment that the ministry did not send any representatives to the AGM.
“We handed the invitation directly to the minister last week but no representative was sent to this AGM.
“We think maybe the government has a plan but it has not announced it to the public yet. We hope it does so soon,” he said.
On June 6, Loke announced that APAD would take over the functions of SPAD after it was decommissioned in May.
Loke said the enforcement, management and issuance of private and commercial licences would in the future be handled solely by the Road Transport Department.
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