Bad news for tow truck operators

Tough times: Kanason used to tow at least two cars a day, but now says he is lucky to tow at least one car a week since the MCO was imposed. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

JOHOR BARU: Tow truck operators are among those who have been hard hit by Covid-19, with the pandemic transforming their once hectic lives into more sedate ones.

Many have now turned to odd jobs to make ends meet.

Tow trucker S. Kanason, 52, said he used to tow at least two cars a day, travelling as far as Kuala Lumpur to bring vehicles back to Johor.

“However, I hardly get to tow one car a week now. At most, I can tow three cars in one week if I am lucky.

“Apart from fewer cars on the road, it has also been difficult for me to cross districts and state borders to attend to traffic emergencies.

“The owner will need to make a police report first if they need me to travel far to tow their car, ” he said.

He added that many of his fellow tow truckers had left the field as it was hard to sustain themselves.

“I am currently helping my wife run her stall at a restaurant here as I can no longer depend on the income from towing cars.

“In fact, we have to use income from running the stall to pay for the monthly rental of the tow truck, ” he said in an interview here.

Another tow trucker, Chin Ting Wee, 42, said he had lost more than 80% of his income since the movement control order was first imposed in March last year.

“There was a slight improvement when the interstate travel restriction was lifted last year, but things worsened after the second MCO was announced last month.

“People are also less likely to call tow trucks now as they do not have money to pay for the service, and their insurance may have expired.

“Some will just leave their cars at the side of the road when they have no other option, ” he said.

Chu Fong Wee, 55, who is the director of a workshop that also provides towing services, said business had dropped by between 70% and 80% since last March.

“Festive seasons used to be busy for us as many people would drive long distances to return to their hometowns, but it has been quiet since last year, ” he said.

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