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More bus licences for Raya rush home

The Star Friday September 5, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: Temporary express bus permits or temporary variation licences (LPS) will be issued on the spot to put an additional 2,000 buses on the road for the balik kampung rush this Hari Raya.

The Government will also allow operators who are providing extra buses to choose routes according to demand.

This is in addition to the 9,000 litres of subsidised diesel to be given to each bus from Sept 15, which was announced on Wednesday by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad.

Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar said that prior to the announcements, only about 100 LPS were taken up although the ministry had allocated 2,000 permits for this festive period.

Noh said they have agreed to open routing for the additional buses, which meant that LPS holders could pick their routes according to demand.

Personal attention: Noh Omar checking bus ticket sales for the coming Hari Raya festive period at the Puduraya bus terminal during a working visit to the terminal in Kuala Lumpur Thursday.

Previously, additional buses were only allowed to operate routes designated under the LPS.

On school, factory and charter bus operators being reluctant to lease out their vehicles as additional buses, Noh said he had spoken to the school bus operators, and they had agreed to lease them out at a reasonable rate.

Noh was speaking to reporters after visiting ticket counters at the Puduraya bus terminal. Earlier, he had a closed-door meeting with bus operators.

Most tickets for travel between Sept 25 and 27 have been snapped up.

Noh said the Government understood the problems faced by bus operators, which was why they agreed to reduce their road tax and toll charges.

“We allowed them to impose a 30% fare surcharge for this festive month, and increased their subsidised diesel quota. The diesel subsidy will cost the Government more than RM100mil for a month,” he said.

He said the authorities would come down hard on ticket touts, and threatened to revoke the permits of bus companies who are in cahoots with them.

Bus operators had also agreed to ban their counter staff from using walkie-talkies, as they were used to communicate with touts, he said.

In an immediate response, Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said that with such measures he was confident that there would be enough buses to meet the Hari Raya demand.

“Give us a few days to sort things out. Hopefully by Monday, additional tickets will be made available,” he said.



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