RapidPenang to increase fares August 1

TRANSIT takes note of this article which announces a fare increase at RapidPenang, in line with the recent fare increase announced by the government.

RM1.40 minimum bus fare beginning Aug 1 (NST)

2009/07/22

GEORGE TOWN: Rapid Penang Sdn Bhd will introduce a new fare structure from Aug 1, in line with the government’s announcement to improve the delivery system of public transportation services.

Its chief executive officer, Azhar Ahmad, said the company would also be adding 200 disabled-friendly buses to its fleet by year-end to further strengthen its operations, especially in terms of bus frequency.

In a statement yesterday, he said the new fare structure for air-conditioned stage buses would be 94 sen for the first 2km and 9.4 sen for each subsequent km (the current rates are 72 sen/ for the first two km and 7.2 sen for each subsequent km.

This means for the first 7km, the fare will be RM1.40 (minimum fare) compared with RM1 now.

Above 7km, the fare structure will be as follows (present fares in brackets): 7.01km – 14km, RM2 (RM1.50);
14.01km – 21km, RM2.70 (RM2);
21.01km – 28km, RM3.40 (RM2.50);
28.01km and above, RM4 (RM3).

For more information, call Rapid Penang’s communication division at 04-2381313 ext 223, 216 and 203. — Bernama

TRANSIT Says:

Prices go up. Costs for businesses go up and they usually will pass those costs on to the consumer. This is of course expected in market economics.

We have yet to get confirmation from the CVLB that the increase announced last week is on top of the 30% announced in October 2008 (in the form of a Hari Raya surcharge that never went away).

If that is the case, the net increase is quite significant. A 30% increase in fares followed by an additional 30% increase is clearly greater than the rate of inflation, which was 8% at its highest point last year.  

Right now we look at the numbers and wonder how RapidPenang can justify a 40% increase (from RM1 to RM1.40) in their base fare. And we will find out from them what they have to say.

In the meantime, our expectations are clear. Fare increases, when they occur, should be in line with inflation.  We suggest that an index of public transport operators costs be created and made public so that the consumers and the producers and the government are all aware of the costs that must be paid.

As for service, our expectations are as they always were: service must be safe, punctual, frequent and reliable, with high quality and service standards.  The 4 stakeholders model must be implemented effectively.

RapidPenang may be the top bus company in the country but we expect them to improve their standards if they intend to charge us more for fares.

In line with that expectation, we make the following proposals to RapidPenang:

1. Implement Touch ‘n’ Go service on RapidPenang buses and offer volume discounts for Touch ‘n’ Go users, such as a daily maximum fare e.g. RM5 daily max) or a percentage discount for a minimum number of uses (e.g. a 10% discount if you use the Touch ‘n’ Go card more than 50 times per week).

This benefits RapidPenang because it:

  • reduces waiting time at bus stops and stations
  • reduces costs related to handling money and losses from pilferage / theft.
  • reduces costs related to printing tickets.
  • reduces opportunities for fare evasion & fraud.
  • encourages customer loyalty.
  • increased incentives for customers.
  • Valuable information about customer rides, useful in fleet, route, and trip planning.

2. Improve route information and signage at bus stops to help people get around easily and in comfort. See the examples below:

Spider map of Bank Station and Area - image courtesy of Transport for London and KL Commuter.
Spider map of Bank Station and Area - image courtesy of Transport for London and KL Commuter.
Bus stop signage at Baker Street station - image courtesy of KL Commuter.
Bus stop signage in London. Image courtesy of KL Commuter.
Bus stop signage in London. Image courtesy of KL Commuter.

3. Implement GPS monitoring at bus stops. This helps people know how long they need to wait for a bus. Maybe they will step into a shop in the meantime, which benefits the local economy. Maybe they will take a taxi instead. Either way, they feel that they are informed.

GPS Monitoring at bus stops in London. Image courtesy of KLCommuter
GPS Monitoring at bus stops in London. Image courtesy of KLCommuter.

4. Get a twitter feed like RapidKL and use it to keep your passengers updated.

5. Introduce the bus identification codes (just like RapidKL) and encourage people to give feedback or c0mplaints.

This sticker shows that this bus is Mercedes Benz bus/chassis 032
This sticker shows that this bus is Mercedes Benz bus/chassis 032
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