Thu, 30 Nov 2000

YLKI opposes bus fare hike during holidays

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) asked the government and bus operators on Wednesday to review the 30 percent increase in intercity bus fares scheduled for the week before and after Idul Fitri.

"YLKI will continue to voice its opposition to the fare hike policy as it will only harm people," the head of YLKI Transportation Advocacy Division, Tulus Abadi, told Antara.

The government, through the Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, Agum Gumelar, endorsed on Tuesday the 30 percent fare hike one week before and one week after Idul Fitri.

"After a lengthy discussion with the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda), we approved a 30 percent increase," Agum said.

"But the proposed hike must secure an approval from the House of Representatives. We're still waiting for a further discussion with the House," he said.

Tulus accused Organda of being authoritative with the fare hike policy during the Idul Fitri holiday.

"The association, as an institution, acts like a king who can unilaterally decide on the fare hike," he said.

Ironically, the government has a slight bargaining position against Organda because of its limited fleet of transportation, he said.

Tulus said it was not the first time Organda played a deciding role in the fare hike. Last year, Organda proposed a 50 percent hike in bus fares during the Idul Fitri holiday.

He rejected the grounds, provided by Organda, that the bus fare must be hiked along with the firms' increasing operational expenditures.

"The grounds provided were only to justify their proposal," he said, adding that YLKI had enough evidence to prove the reasons were groundless.

"We have proof that even in the present situation, bus operators can still make a profit. So it's not necessary to hike the fares," he said.


Separately, an owner of a bus company, Firhan, said despite the current economic situation, bus operators could still benefit from the regular fares.

He suggested that the increase be canceled.

"Bus fares were just increased two months ago (September). The increased fares are a burden to people who want to return home for the holiday," he said in a broadcasted interview with El- Shinta Radio station on Wednesday morning.

He denied the bus operators' claims that the fares be hiked due to an increase in their operational expenditures.

"As a bus operator, I know all about that," he said.


Meanwhile, City Council speaker Edy Waluyo expressed his disagreement to the increase.

He said the fare hike was imposed on the public two months ago.

"The present increase will only add to people's problems," he said.

Quoting the results of research done by YLKI last year, Tulus said the violation of the government-sanctioned fare hike was 75 percent.

Tulus said YLKI would present a report on last year's violations during a hearing with the House on Thursday. (01)