Express bus firms request for dos and don’ts

PETALING JAYA: Express bus companies want the government to spell out what they can and cannot do during the movement control order, says Pan Malaysia Bus Operators Association president Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali.

The association, which has about 80 operators under it, also said that the Health Ministry would be the best authority to do the job of disinfecting buses.

“We handle thousands of passengers a day, criss-crossing nationwide and across borders. There are directives under the order that can be ‘difficult to deal with’.

“We ask the Health Ministry to place people to check on our passengers at the bus terminals and major connecting posts.

“This is because there will still be much movement of express and stage buses during these two weeks.

“We also want the ministry to handle the disinfection of buses entering and leaving the terminals, ” said Ashfar.

This is because the bus operators do not have the expertise or the financial capability to conduct disinfection, he added.

“We also would like the government to clarify the directive of crossing borders to southern Thailand and Singapore as we were told Malaysians are barred from leaving the country. This, for us, will create a lot of problems as we are already operating on a thin profit margin.

“Unlike tour buses, we have had no increase in our fares for the past 10 years, even during the past two governments.

“Due to the Covid-19 crisis, our passenger load has already dropped by 50% in February and we fear if there is no stimulus package for us from the government, a number of us may have to fold up after the two weeks, ” said Ashfar.

He also said that it would take another month after the two-week period for the passenger load to recover.

Under the order, while public transport operates as usual, Malaysians have been directed to cut down on unnecessary travel and to not leave the country.

Those who do so will have to go through health screening and self-quarantine upon their return.

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