KUCHING: The Sarawak government has spent RM59.3mil to subsidise the RM1 fare for stage bus services in the state up to Sept 30.
State Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil said the RM1 fare had been implemented in Kuching, Sarikei, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri since May 2020, benefitting the B40 group in particular.
"In 2020, only RM5.2mil was spent on this programme as the movement control order (MCO) due to the Covid-19 pandemic was in effect.
"The subsidy amounted to RM12.1mil in 2021 and increased to RM21.3mil in 2022 when the MCO was lifted in May.
"This year, RM20.6mil has been spent up to September," he said in reply to Mohd Chee Kadir (GPS-Kabong) during question time in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly on Friday (Nov 24).
Dr Jerip said total ridership since the programme was introduced reached 10.5 million passengers as of September.
He said the number of passengers rose from 1.2 million in 2020 to 3.5 million last year.
"The total ridership this year is projected to reach four million, based on the average yearly increase in passengers since 2020," he said.
He added that five bus companies were involved in the initiative in Sibu, three each in Kuching and Miri, and one each in Bintulu and Sarikei.