By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, May 29: The Sarawak government is subsidising RM10 for each passenger travelling on express boats for the Gawai Dayak festive season.
Roughly 100,000 passengers will benefit from this government initiative, said Richard Tajan, controller of Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB).
Meanwhile, he told DayakDaily today that his office had received applications for an additional 24 express boat trips for the Sibu-Song-Kapit route. He expects to receive more applications as demand spikes.
“We are expecting passenger rush from May 25 to 31 because school holidays started from May 24. This is the time that people are heading back to their villages. And like previous years, the Sibu-Song-Kapit route will be in high demand.
“The peak is today and tomorrow. As early as 4am today, there were already passengers waiting for the ticket booth to open to buy tickets so that they can head home as soon as possible,” he revealed.
He said SRB was expecting between 2,000 and 3,000 passengers each day between May 25 to 31.
Expecting the home rush crowd at the Sibu Express Boat Terminal, he said five tents had been erected to shield the passengers from the sun and rain.
“Today, as of now (4pm), there are already more than 2,000 passengers in our registration. We foresee tomorrow will be worse.
“That is why we have our Operasi Penguatkuasaan Sempena Gawai dan Hari Raya, which also involves the Marine Department, Marine Police and Rela, to ensure safe river travel during this festive season,” said Richard.
Phase One of the operation is from May 25 to 31 and Phase Two from June 3 to 9. — DayakDaily