It was reported earlier this week that express bus operators have approached the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) on the possibility of a 15% hike in ticket prices this Raya season in addition to a 10% surcharge after the holidays should the government turn down earlier demands for fare deregulation.

However, said request by the Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association (PMBOA) for the 15% increase has been turned down, as understood by theSun. SPAD chairman, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, commented that the subject was not brought up at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. “So the 15% fare surcharge as requested is highly unlikely for this year’s Hari Raya trips,” he said.

On the upside, the commission is now entertaining the notion of fare deregulation, with plans to have it implemented by mid-2016. According to Syed Hamid, SPAD officials will now look into the pros and cons of such a move and how to make it viable in the long run. A proposal, containing information on a supposed centralised ticketing system, operating costs and ridership patterns, will be submitted to the Cabinet in July.

Separately, Konsortium Transnasional Berhad (KTB) chairman, Tan Sri Dr Mohd Nadzmi Salleh, commented that fare deregulation could bring about “positive changes” for both the consumers and the industry. “Government should not regulate fares. Let the market decide as it may lead to lower fares to attract passengers during non-peak period,” he said.