In response to a recent proposal by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association (PMBOA) president Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali said express bus operators should be allowed to impose more flexible fares for their services if the salary of bus drivers is to be raised.
According to Bernama, he said the government must create a win-win situation if it wanted the proposed increase in the salary to be implemented in the country.
“It is quite impossible to increase the salary of bus drivers now given the rising cost of operations being borne by the operators.
“If the government is firm on implementing it, it should be coordinated with a review on ticket fares, which was last conducted almost 10 years ago,” he said.
Ashfar said this is the only way the government could help bus operators offer higher salaries to bus drivers as per the proposal.
Peninsular Malaysia Malay Express Bus Operators Association (PEMBAWA) president Che Ibrahim Che Ismail said express bus operators had already done away with giving commissions based on trips.
He said only ‘pau bus‘ operators, namely, those conducting bus services using the licences and vehicle belonging to others, were still using the method.
“On the other hand, bus drivers have been enjoying numerous perks such as cleanliness allowances, travel allowance, bonus, Employee Provident Fund (EPF) and Social Security Organisation (Socso) contributions,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mahligai Express Bus manager Wan Safri Wan Ali said the industry was currently experiencing shortage of bus drivers.
“It is estimated that 4,000 buses are operating nationwide with only 6,000 drivers and the number is far from sufficient to meet the demand of passengers.
“Non-commensurate salary and expensive driver’s licence fee are among the factors people refuse to become bus drivers,” he said.