Parents may need to fork out more for school bus services as fares are expected to go up next month. According to Amali Munif Rahmat, president of the Federation of Malaysian School Bus Operators Association, a number of school bus companies are looking to combat the rising cost of operation with an increase in their fares.

“The implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the depreciation of our ringgit have been attributed for the increase. Even a piece of screw at 50 sen is charged GST. The problem is that they can’t claim taxes paid from the Customs as these companies barely reach half a million ringgit sales, as required by the government if they intend to claim,” he told The Sun.

Amali claims that some transport companies decided to maintain their current fares this year, although they had hardly enough to stay in operation. The Land Public Transport Commission’s (SPAD) decision to deregulate the fares in January 2016 has provided companies with the ability to set their own fares. However, any increase in fares is up to the individual company’s discretion.

This variance in rates is also dependant on the status of the residents, their requirements, and the distance to the respective schools. “Some would want their children to only board air-conditioned school buses. This would obviously cost more than others,” he said.

Amali also warned the school bus companies not to collude on any fare hikes. “They should not conspire with each other or come to an agreement to increase their fares together as it should be done individually. Otherwise, it would go against Section 4 of the Competition Act 2010, which prohibits deals between enterprises,” he stated.

For parents who employ the services of school bus companies, how much are you currently paying them to send your child to school? Do you think the impending fare hike is a justified one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.