KUALA LUMPUR: About 18,000 people are expected ride buses out of the city daily during the Chinese New Year rush, says Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
"Usually, about 16,000 passengers use the Southern Integrated Terminal (TBS) in Bandar Tasik Selatan every day.
"The numbers are expected to increase to between 17,000 and 18,000 passengers during the Chinese New Year rush home," he told reporters after visiting the TBS here on Sunday (Jan 27).
He said that on average, about 1,000 buses would depart and arrive at TBS daily during the peak period from Feb 1 to Feb 10.
To accommodate the increase in demand, he said the ministry had approved 119 permits for an additional 267 buses.
He added that an additional 19 ticketing counters would be opened to complement the existing 70 counters.
On the 10% increase in bus fares, Loke said this was only allowed during the 10-day period from Feb 1 to Feb 10.
"I am aware that some have attacked me as Transport Minister for allowing an increase in fares.
"But this is done yearly for two celebrations – Chinese New Year and Hari Raya – where operators are allowed to impose a 10% surcharge on ticket prices," he said.
He said this was done to allow bus operators to operate and hire more buses and drivers to meet increase in demand.
On safety, Loke said the Road Transport Department (JPJ) would inspect all buses and bus drivers before they depart from TBS on their trips.
He said the inspection would cover the roadworthiness of the buses and also ensure that the drivers are not under the influence of drugs.