Express, regional buses allowed to operate under SOP guidelines

Datuk Lee Kim Shin

KUCHING, June 3: Express or regional bus services in Sarawak can now operate with immediate effect.

Ministry of Transport in a statement today said the decision was made following the approval by the Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) today.

Transport minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said, however, the approval to operate inter-district or inter-division does not include cross international border bus services such as from Sarawak to West Kalimantan, Sarawak to Brunei, Sarawak to Sabah and vice versa.

“The result of the government efforts to curtail the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in Sarawak has been encouraging. To date, all divisions have been categorised as either green or yellow zones. This decision is also to ensure the people of Sarawak are well protected and guarded from the spread of coronavirus in the state.

“SDMC has also decided that express or regional bus operators plying and operating across all districts in Sarawak need not have to obtain permit from the police. However, people who wish to travel across district boundaries are required to seek prior permission from the police,” Lee said.

Nothwithstanding the above, he cautioned all operators intending to resume bus operations and services across district boundaries must still comply with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) established under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) rules and guidelines for resumption of business activities.

The SOP includes requiring operators to sanitize all their buses, reorganise seating arrangements in the buses to comply with social distancing, provide handheld thermometers to check passengers’ body temperature and to make available hand sanitisers and all drivers to undergo health screening.

“On the other hand, drivers must ensure that their passengers wear face masks throughout the journey and all of them have police permits before being allowed to board the buses.

“Drivers must sanitise their buses with aerosol before allowing embarking passengers into the buses at all scheduled stops along the designated rest areas. They must also insist that embarking passengers at scheduled stop display their police permits before boarding the buses,” Lee said.

He also reminded all express or regional bus operators to notify the public and create awareness on the resumption of their bus services by providing information on the bus schedules, fares and the routes travelled through their company websites and social media.—DayakDaily