KUALA LUMPUR: Some 19,000 people are expected to catch the bus out from the city here during the Chinese New Year “balik kampung” rush, says Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
“Usually, about 16,000 passengers use the Southern Integrated Terminal (TBS) in Bandar Tasik Selatan daily.
“But the number is expected to increase to between 17,000 and 18,000 passengers when people go back to their hometowns during the Chinese New Year,” he told reporters after visiting the TBS here yesterday.
He said that on average, about 1,000 buses would depart and arrive at the TBS daily during the peak period between Feb 1 and 10.
To accommodate the increase in demand for buses, he said the ministry has approved 119 bus permits for an additional 267 buses. He added that 19 ticketing counters would also be open to complement the existing 70 counters.
On the 10% increase in bus fare prices, Loke said this was only allowed during the 10-day period between Feb 1 and 10.
“Some people have attacked me for allowing an increase in the bus fares.
“But, this is done yearly for two celebrations, namely Chinese New Year and Hari Raya, where transport operators are allowed to impose a 10% surcharge on ticket prices,” he added.
This was done to allow bus operators to operate and hire more buses and drivers to meet an increase in demand during the peak holiday season.
On safety, Loke said the Road Transport Department (JPJ) would carry out checks on buses and bus drivers before they depart from TBS for their trips.
The officers will ensure that the buses are roadworthy while the drivers will be tested for drugs.