Bus Operators Cite Concerns About Maintenance Costs as Interstate Travel Restarts
Bus operators said they need between RM10,000 to RM15,000 to service each bus before it is deemed fit to travel.
Transport Minister Reminds Bus Operator to Adhere SOP
Malaysian Bumiputera Bus Operators’ Association (PPBBM) Chairman Che Ibrahim Che Ismail expressed the concerns of bus operators about maintenance costs after the government has allowed interstate travel in a report by Bernama.
Bernama reported that Che Ibrahim said, “A lot of maintenance works need to be carried out before bus operators can resume their production again. These costs include bus air conditioning system, batteries that are damaged and which need to replaced, as well as vehicle insurance.”
According to Che Ibrahim, they will need between RM10,000 to RM15,000 to service each bus before it is deemed fit to travel. “We might not be able to operate even though the government has allowed interstate travel if we are unable to have the vehicles ready. If we can get our vehicles serviced sooner, it could help to increase the income of bus operators and customers would also feel safer to travel."
He added that due to the lack of capital, that bus operators on average could only provide 20 to 30 per cent of their vehicle capacity to resume business.
“Many people are more comfortable using their own vehicles for interstate travel or tourism activities at the moment. The Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) needs to give emphasis and awareness on the safety and advantages of using public transport for interstate travel.”
Most of the operators are from Peninsular Malaysia, concentrated in major states such as Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor, and Kelantan.
According to the report by Bernama, the association also hopes that the government can provide assistance in terms of grants or loans (start-up operating capital) under Budget 2022, to ensure vehicles can be made available to boost tourism and to get people to use public transport such as express and school buses.
Meanwhile, Bernama also reported that Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said, all public transport in land, air and maritime sectors are required to ensure their passengers are fully vaccinated as required in the new standard operating procedures (SOP) for interstate travel.
"All operators must ensure that all passengers or public transport users show their vaccination certificate to prove that they have been fully vaccinated,” he said in a statement.
The operators have been reminded to avoid complacency and always adhere to the SOPs set out by the government under the National Recovery Plan (PPN). He said, this included other SOP compliance such as wearing a face mask and frequent hand washing or using hand sanitizer.
Wee also encouraged public transport users to take the Covid-19 self-screening test before embarking on an interstate journey to protect themselves, their families and those around them as stated by Bernama.