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Singapore-Malaysia coach tours could get more expensive

COACH ticket prices for Singapore-Malaysia trips might soon see a jump, due to rising insurance premiums, highway toll charges and fuel costs.

  11/04/2012 09:02

Singapore-based coach operators said insurance premiums are tipped to increase further, especially since there is only one travel insurance provider at the moment.

Sebastian Yap, a committee member of the Express Bus Agencies Association (EBAA) and managing director of Regent Star Travel, told TTG Asia e-Daily: "In the past, coach operators had a host of travel insurance providers to choose from. Unfortunately, many insurance firms found that, owing to the complexities involved in designing cross-border travel policies and settling claims, it was simply not worth the investment, time and effort."

To encourage competition, EBAA has been in talks with other insurance providers, although according to Yap, many remain unconvinced. EBAA is also in the midst of negotiating with Liberty Insurance to secure better premium terms for members.

Yap said that while major coach operators could probably absorb any hike in insurance premiums, it would be hard for the over 200 smaller players in the industry to do so. “They have little bargaining power and will thus be less likely to secure a good deal and they may have little choice but to pass the increase on to passengers. This could be detrimental for their business," he explained.

“Frankly, for the larger players, (rising) fuel prices and toll increases are more of a worry than the tipped hike in insurance premiums. However, most of our members will only be able to make a decision on whether they need to up their ticket prices early next year when things are clearer and these operational costs can be factored in,” added Yap.

Malaysian authorities are now studying the feasibility of increasing toll charges for Singapore-registered vehicles entering the country. Diesel price has also risen by around 3.5 per cent in the last 12 months.

(Source: TTG Asia)

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