Silence at bus terminals

All’s quiet at the station: Empty seats and very few customers at the ticket counters in the Sungai Nibong express bus terminal. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: With almost no chance to balik kampung for Hari Raya Aidilfitri, express bus operators can only wait it out and serve passengers who need to travel for permitted reasons.

Express bus ticketing agent Mohamad Mizi, 52, said from 12 full busloads to Kuala Lumpur a day during Ramadan in previous years, he could only sell one, and it would not be always full.

“It’s like last year, no business bonuses for the festive period, ” said Mohamad, who has been in the job for almost 20 years.

But he said people were expecting this.

“Without Covid-19 cases dropping, people know interstate travel will not be likely, ” he said at Butterworth’s Penang Sentral recently.

The terminal was exceedingly quiet and the shutters were pulled down on some ticket counters.

But in Prangin Mall at the island’s Komtar, express bus agency manager K. Ganthimathi said she would still occasionally encounter customers who want to buy tickets without getting travel authorisation letters from the police.

“We always advise them to get police approval before buying tickets, ” she added.

She said her company strived to make sure every passenger it served was either a frontliner or essential service worker, or had permission to travel.

Ganthimathi said ticket prices such as from Penang to Kuala Lumpur had gone up now due to difficulties in getting buses filled.

“Tickets used to be RM38 and they are now RM48 due to increased operational costs and reduced revenue.

“Even if the bus has only a few passengers, we will still move, ” she added.

Last week, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the interstate travel ban will not be lifted for the Hari Raya season.

He said leisurely or social interstate travel was still not allowed, except for travel activities between recovery movement control order states under the green travel bubble concept through tour agencies registered with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

Only travel between districts within states is allowed, except in Sabah and Sarawak based on their state governments’ decisions.

Areas in states such as Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang and Sarawak are to remain under the conditional MCO until May 17.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In Nation

RTM ordered to probe Mandarin news editors after bulletin refers to Hamas as 'miliants'
Covid-19: 4,855 new cases bring total to 458,077
Man stabbed to death in front of nieces on first day of Raya
Dance instructor, family spread some Raya cheer with music video
Police focus on Covid-19 SOP compliance on first day of Raya
Covid-19: Market in Bagan Ajam closed for three days after 43 test positive
Health DG makes battle cry against Covid-19
Muslims celebrate Hari Raya on moderate scale, comply with Covid-19 SOP
No major traffic snarls reported in Klang Valley on first day of Raya
GOF personnel stay vigilant on duty despite being away from families for Raya

Stories You'll Enjoy