Malaysia parents seeing red over bus fare hike

Malaysia parents seeing red over bus fare hike

PETALING JAYA - Many parents are upset over the possibility of a schoolbus fare increase next January, with some saying that they may have no choice but to send their children to school themselves.

Building executive Farah Dinah Muhammad Razif, who lives in Bandar Manjalara, Kuala Lumpur, was annoyed by the decision to deregulate schoolbus fares, saying it would add extra expenses to the family's monthly budget.

"With the recent petrol price increase, we cannot afford to pay extra for schoolbus fees so I will send my daughter to school myself," said the 26-year-old mother, whose child is in Year Two.

Farah Dina said she paid RM65 (S$25) monthly for the schoolbus service but her daughter came home from school late every day.

"My daughter finishes school at 1.10pm but the schoolbus only reaches our home between 2.30pm and 3pm. If the price continues to go up, I do not think it is wise for us to continue using their service."

Another parent, Sahidi Mohd Ghazali, a 40-year-old system manager from Kajang, said he had no choice but to pay for the schoolbus service.

"My eight-year-old has been using the bus service for quite a while. We still have to use the same schoolbus as both my wife and I are working parents. The school is far from home and we have no other choice," he said.

He suggested that a special discount be introduced for families with many children.

"They just increased the fare from RM30 to RM40 but the service is still the same.

"The bus has no air-conditioning. If bus operators decide to increase the fares, we hope their service will also be improved," he said.

Caroline Lee, a general manager in a multinational company, said any change to the rate should be discussed with parents.

"Although December is the school holidays, the schoolbus operator still charges us. Some even use the bus for other purposes during that period but we still pay them. I do not see why they should increase so much to cover operational costs," she said.

Some parents turned to social media to vent their frustrations.

Twitter user @azraaibaharin wanted the operators to improve the safety and comfort of their buses before asking for a fare increase.

Facebook user Farhan Haziq said bus operators needed new vehicles as many appeared to be not roadworthy.

"An increase in just 20 sen per litre and they want to hike their fares by a couple of ringgit. Very soon flying will be cheaper than taking a bus," said Anthony Chew.

Twitter user @jasonbhlee said the increase was only the beginning of the "domino effect".

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