Monday, October 20, 2008


Surprise fares increase

Fifty sen hike in KK minibus fare shocks commuters; most other bus fares stay unchanged


A random survey by The Borneo Post yesterday found that minibus fares in the State Capital were recently increased and so were the Tawau-Sandakan and Tawau-Kota Kinabalu express bus fares, but the fares of other buses and routes have remained the same. Commuters here were surprised by the recent hike in minibus fares for travel between the City and various areas on the outskirts despite the decreases in fuel price. According to a commuter who travels by minibuses between Donggongon and the City regularly, a conductor announced recently that the fare has been increased from RM1.50 to RM2 yesterday. “I was shocked when he announced it and I saw a notice on the fare increase issued by the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) on the bus,” he said, adding that based on the notice, the fare hike took effect on October 18. The commuter said bus fare should he reduced instead of being increased due to the drastic drop in the world crude oil price and gradual cuts in diesel and petrol prices made by the Government recently. He hoped the relevant authorities will look into the matter and ensure the bus operators do not increase their fares as they like. A passenger who lives in Kionsom, said the minibus fare for travel from Inanain to Isoin Kinabalu has also increased. “There is a 60 sen increase in the fare for the ride from Inanam to Kota Kinabalu,” said 25-year-old Joanne Ujang yesterday when on her way to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. However, there are passengers who said there has been no fare hike for travel between Menggatal andKota Kinabalu. “As far as I know, there has been no increase in the fare since I take the minibus ride to my workplace everyday,” said Ron Suyin, a 30- year-old factory worker. Meanwhile, the drivers of stage buses said there has been no increase in their fares for the ride between the City and the outskirts like Dongonggon and other areas in Penampang. “There was an increase in the minibus fare but the stage bus operators did not raise their fares,” he said. A station master on the City Tuaran route, Madris bin Tuh said that there was no increase in the bus fare. “There might be an increase in the minibus fare to places like Dongonggon and Inanam, but the bus fare from the City to Tuaran is still the same,” the 60-year-old said. He said the express bus fares for distant travel between Kota Kinabalu and areas like Ranau and Keningau have also remained unchanged. Meanwhile, Keningau Minibus Association Chairman, Sanipin Sudin, yesterday said the minibus fare for travel between Keningau and Kota Kinabalu has remained the same at RM15. Sanipin, who is one of Keningau Kota Kinabalu minibus operators, said their last fare increase was several months ago when the diesel price was increased from RM1 per litre. According to him, the Association actualhsubsidises the fare as it would have been much higher based on 18 sen per km travel that they are allowed to charge. “If we follow 18 sen per km. it means the passengers should pay RM23.40 for the 130km Keningau-Kota Kinabalu jounrey. But we still maintain the RM15 fare and we consider part of it as our subsidy for the passengers. Asked whether the minibus fare for ride within the Keningau district has been raised, Sanipin said he did not know, as individual operators who are not members of the Association might have increased the fare. In TAWAU, the minibus operators are still maintaining their fares although the commuters have expected a reduction in view of the gradual decrease in the price of diesel. The stage bus operators are still maintaining their fares with the minimum set at 50 sen, that is for the ride between the town and Kg Ice Box. One of the bus drivers, Hamid said the fares are imposed according to the distance, and the travel to places like Tanjung Batu and Mile 32, Balung would certainly cost more than within the town and its immediate surrounding areas. “We did not increase our bus fares although the price of diesel was increased previously and we also would not reduce the fares even though the price of fuel has been reduced,” he said. Meanwhile, two operators from Kasah Transport Sdn Bhd said the Company still maintains the bus fare for the journey between the town and Tawau Airport at RM1O. Mardiana and Zayziela said the Company originally imposed a RM5 fare for the ride to and from Airport when it started operation, and the fare has been raised twice to RM7 and now RM10 due to the rising fuel cost. “However, the Company has no plan to reduce the fare yet although the price of diesel has been reduced. We do not impose charges on kids below seven years old,” they said. One of the express bus operators in Tawau, Kassim Abdullah said the fare for the journey between Tawau and Sandakan has been increased by RM10 to RM42 from RM32 about a week ago while the fare for the travel between Tawau and Kota Kinabalu was increased by RM16 from RM55 to RM71 on August 15 this year following the last fuel price hike announced by the Prime Minister. The fare for the trip between Tawau and Lahad Datu now is RM15.50, up 50 sen from RM15 previously. One of the passengers in Tawau, Haryati, 35, said the passengers have no choice but to accept bus fare to Kota Kinabalu where her husband is working. “I think many of the passengers are still taking bus trips to other districts whether the fares have been increased or decreased. This is because the air fares plus airport taxes are becoming more expensive compared with bus fares,” she said while waiting for an express bus to start the journey at the bus terminal in Sabindo.