Allow express buses with SOPs in Sabah, say operators

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Express Bus Operator Council (Seboc) president Donald Hanafi has urged the government to allow its members to operate using the previous SOPs.

He said, this includes limiting the passenger capacity to 50%, and having enforcement approve them for inter-district travel.

He also suggested that those who have been fully vaccinated be allowed to take buses for inter-district travel by showing their MySejahtera vaccine certificates.

“To me, this can be done because the Covid-19 situation in Sabah is not the same as in the peninsula. In fact the chief minister has eased some restrictions for a few sectors, including for social activities,” he told FMT.

Donald said express bus operators in the state had been hit hard when their services were disrupted following Sabah’s inter-district travel ban.

He added that Seboc has submitted an application to the government and hoped that it would be successful.

“As bus operators, we do not want this spike in Covid-19 cases to continue but I am confident it can be avoided if all SOPs are followed.

“So far, there have not been any clusters involving passengers of express buses and I am confident that we can avoid this because what is important is SOP compliance,” he said.

Donald said, express bus drivers in Sabah will also continue to face dire situations and income losses if they are not allowed to operate over a long period of time.

He added that despite receiving financial aid as announced by the government recently, these drivers would not be able to sustain for much longer as their income only depended on trips, which he said would cost between RM70 to RM80 per trip.

“Now they are only on ‘standby’ at home, where they would only be called to work if there is an essential trip that needed to be done like sending supplies to Tawau, Sandakan and other districts.

“Even though express buses are operating for logistics purposes, operators’ income is still affected because there are not a lot of premises open right now, besides having only a limited number of trips to transport supplies,” he said. – FMT

by Willie Jude

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