The stage bus industry will be receiving RM142.7 million under the Interim Stage Bus Support Fund (ISBSF) 2016, which will be channelled to 65 stage bus operators who have applied for assistance this year, according to a statement by SPAD. To date, operators from Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, and Terengganu have received financial assistance amounting to RM11.62 million.

“Buses remain a key mode of connectivity in smaller towns and areas that rail services do not reach. Recognising the need to keep these vital social routes running, the Government is working on improving stage bus services for a more sustainable future through various initiatives,” said SPAD chairman, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Dr. Syed Hamid Syed Jaafar Albar in a statement.

Existing recipients of the funding under the ISBSF programme will be migrated into the Stage Bus Transformation (SBST) programme, which introduced the myBAS programme in 2015, according to the statement.

Cityliner bus-01

It says the SBST programme is designed to improve operator viability and expand bus routes by migrating from the fare-box revenue collection model to the gross-cut service delivery model. SPAD has so far rolled out myBAS services in Kangar, Seremban and Ipoh, and is set to do the same for Kuala Terengganu and Johor Bahru.

“With the continuation of the Interim Stage Bus Support Fund (ISBSF) by the Government in 2016 the total budget allocated for this programme to date is RM661.7 million,” he continued. “In Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley, stage buses as supporting services to the rail system underwent a network revamp in December 2015 targeted at upgrading bus services that were previously inconsistent due to unpredictable frequency especially in low demand areas,” said SPAD CEO Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah.

SPAD adds that the Government has recently approved a budget allocation to ensure that free bus services offered by GoKL continues to operate until 2021, and estimates that an annual budget of RM13 million is required to support the operations of GoKL annually.