No face mask, no boarding

Siaw (centre) checking on SOP compliance at a bus counter with DSP Ariffin.

SIBU: Passengers who refuse to wear face masks can be prevented from boarding by express bus companies here.

Sibu Resident Charles Siaw said all bus passengers must wear masks before they embark on their journey.

“I want to remind express bus passengers that it is also for their own good to adhere to the safety measures. Bus drivers also have the right not to proceed with the journey if there are passengers on board without face masks,” he said after inspecting the express bus terminal here to ensure compliance to standard operating procedures (SOP) to prevent Covid-19 infection.

The inspection was conducted following a report that some bus passengers had refused to wear face masks despite the requirement to do so.

Siaw said although policemen were carrying out inspections, operators should not expect them to be on-site every day.

“A lot of time, we also have to depend on the companies and drivers to ensure passengers follow the SOP strictly. So their cooperation, as well as that of the passengers, is important,” he said.

Sibu Crime Prevention and Community Policing Department head DSP Ariffin Bahar said monitoring by policemen at the terminal was divided into two shifts, from 8am to 4pm, with 10 officers on each shift.

Meanwhile, Siaw said he would inform the Sibu Municipal Council to mark the benches in the terminal to ensure social distancing was practised by passengers.

On the number of passengers each bus was allowed to carry, he said there was nothing to stop buses from running at full capacity of between 38 and 40 passengers each.

“So far there has been no ruling on full capacity.

“If the number of passengers is restricted, then it can lead to higher bus fares,” he said.

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