Bus companies are mandated under the Land Transport Act 1998 and its corresponding Land Transport Regulations 2000 to provide regular and uninterrupted services throughout the country.
Section 65 of the Act mandates that permit holders must adhere to their permit conditions – Bus companies are provided with permits called ‘Road Route Licence’ which authorises the transport of passengers and goods in three categories – State service, Express service and Shuttle service.
Speaking in Parliament, Minister for Transport, Ro Filipe Tuisawau said these services are provided as approved timetable or schedules under the road routes licence.
He said failing to follow the approved timetable containing the routes and scheduled times, the bus company can be penalised under the Act for not complying with its permit conditions.
He said the onus is on the bus company to inform LTA if it is unable to provide the services to a particular route so that the LTA may seek alternatives service providers such necessary services.
“If the bus company does not notify the LTA and continues breaching its permit conditions by not providing the services stipulated under the Act and the road route licence, the LTA must be notified of these lack of services.”
“LTA will then invoke Regulation 12, these are proceedings under the Land Transport Public Service Vehicle Regulations 2000 where the bus company must show cause to the LTA as to why they should not vary, suspend or cancel the road route licence due to its lack of services.”
Ro Filipe highlighted that this year, the Land Transport Authority has invoked the proceedings on two road routes licence operators and two minibus operators due to breaches in the permit conditions.
He said in the case that LTA suspends or cancels a permit; the LTA also implements internal measures to ensure the public transport services are not affected.
Ro Filipe added that an immediate action that LTA can take and has set as precedent for the PSV Tribunal is that the closest bus operator to the affected area may provide temporary services whilst the Land Transport Authority takes more formal processes such as calling for expressions of interest.