PETALING JAYA - For every licensed school bus or van, there are three others ferrying school children illegally, Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said.
"If you have one that's legal, three others are operating illegally," he said, adding that there was a demand for school buses.
This was the reason SPAD was looking into getting parent-teacher associations (PTAs) to run their own school buses to ferry students, he said.
It was reported on Sunday that SPAD had come up with this solution as school bus operators had been adamant in pushing for a 40 per cent hike in fares.
In suggesting that PTAs operate their own buses to ferry students, SPAD had also proposed that parents could hire independent van owners within their neighbourhood to send their children to school with the commission regulating safety standards.
Syed Hamid reportedly said that these new players have to obtain licences and obey guidelines to be issued by SPAD.
The commission is expected to announce a new fare scheme for school buses in March.
Interviewed by The Star yesterday, Syed Hamid said SPAD was trying to legalise student-carrying operators and encouraged those that were not yet licensed to apply for proper permits.
He added, however, that students in private vehicles could not be covered by the insurance allotted to school buses.
Describing demand for school bus operations as "tremendous", Syed Hamid said, "It is better to have legal operators covered by insurance policies, so they can be properly supervised."
He added that there was no deadline in legalising school bus operations and that it was an ongoing exercise.
SPAD, he said would take action against illegal operators and some even had their vehicles forfeited.
SPAD enforcement chief Datuk Che Hasni Che Ahmad said the number of illegal school bus operators varied from state to state.
He said in Petaling Jaya, the ratio of legal to illegal operators was 1:3 and that most illegal operators around the country were using vans to ferry children.