KUCHING: The free school bus programme will be extended to Sibu and Miri as soon as it is up and running smoothly in Kuching, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
At the moment, Kuching is acting as a testbed for the programme, and as soon as everything is optimised and working efficiently the service will immediately be extended to Sibu and Miri, he elaborated.
“Kuching is actually the testbed. Once it (free school bus service) is efficient, the next one will be Miri and Sibu.
“Actually, the groundwork is being done now (in Sibu and Miri). Arrangements have to be made with the bus operators as well. Once they are ready we can just implement it.
“The arrangements include insurance, security, the students and all that,” he told reporters after launching the Sarawak Free School Bus Programme at Yayasan Sarawak near Jalan Masjid here today.
Abang Johari said for Kuching alone, an allocation of RM5 million is provided by the state government per year for the free school bus service.
The programme is implemented by Yayasan Sarawak, with the collaboration of school bus operators and local governments.
Meanwhile, Yayasan Sarawak director Azmin Bujang said other interested bus operators who wish to join can apply through Yayasan Sarawak, and the foundation will do the rest.
“We are working together with school bus associations. We have to work with existing assets, so any other school bus operators who want to join the programme can apply at Yayasan Sarawak,” he said.
Azmin said the free school bus operating routes are separated into 18 zones within Kuching and Samarahan districts involving 32 schools and 46 school buses and vans.
“All the buses and vans are equipped with GPS trackers so that their locations will be displayed on smartphone apps,” he said.
The tracking app or website can be accessed here.
Apart from tracking the school buses and vans in real time, users can also see all the stops, routes and destinations of the free school buses.