Express bus operations now back at 100 pct operating capacity

Sibu's express bus terminal will be busier in with the easing of travel restrictions.

SIBU, Nov 5: Bus operators in the State will be able to heave a sigh of relief as restrictions on operational capacity have been lifted, with transportation now allowed to operate at 100 per cent capacity starting today.

The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) yesterday announced that it had permitted express buses and stage buses to take in full passenger loads following a suggestion from the Transport Ministry.

However the operators and passengers must still adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the Health Ministry, National Security Council and SDMC which includes the wearing of face masks, body temperature scanning and registration through the MySejahtera app,


Sarawak Bus Transport Company Association advisor, Lau Khing Seng was quick to say that the easing of the restrictions would enable operators to get out of the difficult period, albeit at a slow but steady pace.

“Prior to this announcement yesterday, we have been operating at 50 per cent capacity only. During the Movement Control Order period, we were operating at less than 50 per cent capacity. We had very few passengers then as police permits were required for inter-district travel,’ he said.

He foresees that though they are now allowed to operate at full capacity, the passenger load will slowly increase to between 60 to 70 per cent.

“This is not the time for leisure travel yet as people are still fearful of the Covid-19 pandemic and moreover, people who have either lost their job or have reduced income will not travel either,” he said.

Meanwhile, he hoped that the government would understand their difficulties by approving their request to increase the bus fare from 13 cents a kilometre to 15 cents.

“We are still charging at the 2009 rate. Our expenses have already gone up by between 40 and 50 per cent now. A few years ago, we applied to increase the fare but until now, permission has not been given, so I hope that the government will understand our situation,” he said.

He said the price of a tyre has gone up from RM1,000 to RM1,600, fuel prices are up by almost half the total amount, and salaries now range from RM800 to RM1,200 for general staff.

“Even a cup of coffee has increased from 80 cents to RM1.50 but our fare remains the same. So how can we go on at the same rate?” he questioned. — DayakDaily