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SPAD sees tuk-tuks as solution to surburban public transport

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THE Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is studying the possibility of introducing motorised tricycles for hire in the suburbs.
The motorised tricycles, called “tuk-tuks” in Thailand, could be operating by the end of the year.

The Sun newspaper reported that the proposal is seriously being considered by SPAD as a new mode of public transport and paratransit for the disabled, in view of a looming hike in taxi fares.

“This type of flexible public transport vehicle should be encouraged since it fits the requirements for higher frequency of service, (it is) cost effective, easy to operate and can offer affordable fares for the masses especially for workers, college students and school children,” SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar told the newspaper.

The motorised tricycles will act as urban feeder service for townships and housing estates to ferry passengers from LRT, KTM and future MRT stations as well as public transit hubs with an operating range of 10-25km in the suburbs.

Syed Hamid said the electrically driven tricycles would be environmentally friendly. The proposal would depend on the Road Transport Department passing the motorised tricycles as fit for public use.

The Philippines and Vietnam have already joined Thailand in using electric powered tricycles for public transport.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Insider reports that the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca) wants SPAD to set a ceiling for school bus fares to prevent operators from raising them.

Fomca vice-president, Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman told Bernama SPAD should control fares set by school bus operators, even if they previously never adhered to prices set by the government.

“School bus operators cannot determine the fares because the income of parents differ in urban and rural areas… the most appropriate party to set the school bus fares is SPAD,” he said.

He was commenting on Federation of Malaysian School Bus Operators Association president Amali Munif Rahmat’s statement in recent newspaper reports that school bus fares were expected to increase between 30-50 percent when the new school term began.

Last October, the practice of setting the ceiling price for school bus fares was stopped and parents, schools and school bus operators were given the option to determine the fare while SPAD’s role was merely as observer.

Mohd Yusof said bus operators also needed to take into account the burden on parents due to the rising cost of living, and the best way was to find a “win-win” solution between parents and school bus operators.
He said basic school bus fares gazetted under the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board had earlier played an important role in regulating school bus fares because operators could not fix it arbitrarily.

“SPAD should act decisively on this issue and not succumb to pressure from bus operators as there are some among them who have prescribed fares exceeding 30 percent of the ceiling price set.”

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