S'wak buses plying trunk roads should 'car-pool', says association

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020

SIBU: Bus companies plying the trunk roads in the state have been urged to adopt the "car-pool" concept to cut losses during this recovery movement control order (MCO) period.

Chairman of Sarawak Bus Transport Company Association, Lau Khing Seng (pic) on Wednesday (June 10) said they had no other option with the low passenger volume.

"If Bus A, which is travelling from Sibu to Bintulu, has only two passengers but Bus B has five passengers, then the two passengers from Bus A will take Bus B instead," he said, explaining the idea.

Lau said it was now up to the operators to consider the idea.

He said when trunk road bus services resumed last week, many bus companies found the passenger volume to be extremely low.

"There were only two to three passengers in most buses. We are making a big loss but we have no choice but to keep to our schedule. We can only break even if our buses are 50% full," he said.

Lau attributed the poor passenger volume in the past week to the travel permit requirement for inter-district travel.

"To apply for a travel permit, people needed to queue up at the police station. They found it very inconvenient, and moreover, their application would only be approved if they have good reasons," he noted.

However, with inter-district travel now allowed, Lau said that it would still take them several months before bus business could return to normal.

On Tuesday (June 9), chairman of State Disaster Management Committee, Datuk Amar Douglas, in a daily Covid-19 update, announced that from June 10, inter-district travel as well as inter-state travel across Malaysia would be allowed as the state entered the recovery MCO period.

"It's good that inter-district travel is now permitted. But for us, it will take a few months before we can even think of breaking even or making a profit as most companies and factories have either not started operating on full scale or have not resumed operation.

"This has a spill-over effect on us as the workers will not be using bus service yet," he said.

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