Parents are most likely going to face another financial burden in 2016 because school bus operators are looking to raise school bus fares to cope with the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
In a report by New Straits Times, Federation of Malaysian School Bus Operators Association president Amali Munif Rahmat said that the operational and maintenance costs had increased due to the consumption tax.
In an interview with the English daily, Amali said:
Even something as small as a screw, which a bus needs a lot of, is not being spared by GST, what more the entire operation cost.
Amali did not state how much the bus fares will increase. However, he explained that individual operators or companies would set the price.
The operators need to discuss and negotiate with the students’ parents, and the negotiations could differ from one group to another.
“School bus fares differ, just like your telecommunications packages. If you want bigger and better services, you have to pay more,” he added.
According to Amali, parents are currently paying about RM100 monthly and the fares would be higher if the bus is air-conditioned. “That is where our customers’ income plays a role. Those who can afford more will demand more comfort for their children,” he said.
He also noted that school bus fares would take several other factors into consideration, including the area in which the bus operated as well as the financial status of the people in each neighbourhood.
With 35 bus associations under the federation, Amali noted that the government is no longer controlling school bus fees since January this year. “The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) made the announcement in October last year,” he said. “They have left it up to the federation to negotiate and determine school bus fares.”