KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 — The year got off to a good start for some 8,000 parents in People’s Housing Projects here with the launch of the free school bus service for their children.
Food trader Ahmad Razif Ahmad Shahrul, 42, said the service provided by Kuala Lumpur City Hall had reduced his family’s financial burden as transportation fees for his three children were quite steep.
“For the past eight years, I had been spending almost RM400 a month on school bus fares so they could go to school,” he said.
Van drivers who were willing to drive to the city from his home in Kerinchi were even more expensive.
Two of his children are studying at SMK Seri Bintang Utara and the other at SMK Victoria.
Ahmad Razif welcomed the introduction of bus passes for children using the free service.
“They told us this bus pass acts as a safety measure. I am glad this initiative came at the right time,” he said.
Ahmad Razif were among parents invited to the official launch of the project by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor at SK Bangsar yesterday.
Seventy-seven buses and 54 vans will ferry 8,072 children to school for both morning and afternoon sessions. The service rolled out on January 3.
Redberry Sdn Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd are among the sponsors of the free service.
Petronas also presented school bags and stationery to children at the function.
Tengku Adnan said the government had allocated RM12 million annually to City Hall for the service.
“Our aim is to reduce the burden of low-income parents who live in the city as the cost of living increases,” he said.
He said the service would be monitored to ensure it would always be up to expectations.
Redberry chief executive officer Datuk Siew Ka Wei said the service was one of the best programmes organised to help people in need.
“Whenever I see a father with three children on a motorcycle and a policeman who allows them to pass by, I see a father who wants his children to improve themselves with better education and a policeman who is compassionate,” he said.
“This is why everyone must help to reach the goal.
“I also applaud Petronas for supporting such an incredible programme.”
Secretary Sherena Ong, 35, said the service would allow her to leave for work later and not worry about being caught in the daily traffic congestion.
“It has been quite inconvenient for the past few years as I had to leave home at 6am every day to send my daughter to SK Convent Bukit Nanas and then drive all the way back to Bangsar where I work,” she said.
“It will also help me save money on petrol.”
She said having a neighbourhood bus service would help parents to complete their errands without having to worry about their children’s transportation.
“Since the bus service timing is fixed, it will not be a hassle unless my daughter has extra co-curricular activities in the afternoon,” she said.
Businessman James Anthonysamy, 48, said private school bus fares had increased over the years and were burning a hole in his pocket.
“It can cost RM200 a month to ferry a child from Mondays to Fridays. The price depends on where the child lives,” he said.
“With the current cost of living, forking out RM400 on school bus fares for my children is taking a toll on me.”