THE Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is set to roll out more stage bus services in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan and Kangar, Perlis beginning April after signing contracts with Cityliner Sdn Bhd and Mara Liner Sdn Bhd.
The bus network coverage in Seremban will be increased from 343km to 601km while the number of routes will be extended to 24 from the current 19.
For Kangar, coverage will grow to 337km from 124km while the number of routes will be increased from seven to 15.
Under the SPAD Stage Bus Transformation Programme, the services are scheduled to commence in April for Seremban and in June for Kangar.
They will be extended to Ipoh, Perak, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu and Kuching, Sarawak later this year.
“Outside the Klang Valley, the stage bus is a vital mode of scheduled public transport. The stage bus industry has been facing several structural problems which threaten its viability as a key component of the overall land and public transportation ecosystem,” SPAD chairman Tan Sri Dr Syed Hamid Albar said.
The stage bus transformation programme aims to ensure that fares are affordable and services sustainable, and in the long run increase the use of public transport, by providing optimum access for all citizens.
“The programme is designed to help sustain bus services and connect rural and urban areas, villages to towns with trips scheduled to help the local commuters get to work, schools and central commercial areas, contributing directly to quality of life and productivity,” Syed Hamid said.
SPAD will be responsible for the network, the operating cost, and will receive the fare box revenue. Operators will be paid based on a vehicle per km rate, and are required to deliver on the agreed service level performance.
Services such as frequency, operating hours and ridership will be monitored via the Global Positioning System and evaluation reports by SPAD officers.
Syed Hamid added that SPAD is providing incentives for bus operators who manage to generate more profit by growing their customer base.
For every increase of five percent or more in the number of passengers and revenue per route, bus operators will be entitled to one percent of the profit.
Pipeline projects include the introduction of a prepaid card system for public bus users as an initial step towards seamless travelling.