Bus companies mull stopping long distance services for Kuching from Aug 1-14

Passengers have been few at the Sibu bus terminal since the MCO and RMCO started. (file pic)

SIBU, July 29: Trunk bus companies are mulling pausing services for the Kuching sector from August 1 to 14 when travel permits become required to travel between different Covid-19 zones.

Sarawak Bus Transport Company Association chairman Lau Khing Seng said they are expecting a significant decline in passenger volume for Kuching which has returned to Covid-19 red zone status.

“To get a travel permit, people will have to go to the police station for it. It might be a long process if there are long queues. This will discourage people from traveling unless they have urgent matters to attend to,” he said.

On July 27, State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas announced that the travel restrictions between different Covid-19 zones in Sarawak will be enforced from August 1 to 14 to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the state.

Zone 1 comprises Kuching, Samarahan and Serian divisions while Zone 2 covers Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Sibu, Kapit, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang.

Uggah said movement from Zone 1 to Zone 2 and vice versa will require prior police approval.

Lau pointed out that trunk bus companies plying the Kuching to Sibu-Bintulu and Miri sector, and vice-versa, were also experiencing poor business since they resumed operations in the early stage of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).

“My Lanang Road Bus Company, has already stopped operating during the first few days of RMCO as there were only between two to three passengers. This is a long distance route and with only two to three passengers, we can hardly make money, not to mention the losses that we have to incur,” he said.

He also revealed other companies are only operating on night schedules since the RMCO due to low passenger volume. Prior to the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18, there were buses going to and fro Kuching during the daytime also. — DayakDaily