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Sibu’s stage buses back in business soon with RM1 fare
Posted on : 20 May 2020  Source of News: The Borneo Post
 



SIBU: Stage buses here could be back in service soon under the state government’s RM1 flat rate bus fare initiative and in accordance with strict standard operating procedures (SOP) to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Bus companies here had proposed at a meeting with state Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin and the Sibu Division Disaster Management Committee today that they be allowed to resume next Monday.

In a statement after the meeting, Lee said he had invited five companies – Sungai Merah Bus Bhd, Lanang Bus Company Bhd, Rajang Transport Sdn Bhd, Teku Road Bus Company Sdn Bhd and Borneo Amalgamated Transport Company Bhd – to join the flat rate initiative.

“The approved bus routes and schedules for this RM1.00 Flat Rate Stage Bus Fare Initiative within Sibu town will be published by the Ministry of Transport, Sarawak and the bus companies in the news and social media for the information and convenience of the public,” he said.

Lee added that the companies had been informed at the meeting that before resuming their operations, they were required to comply with the SOP, which requires them to notify the Sibu Division Disaster Management Committee of their intention to resume.

Under the SOP, the companies are also required to sanitise their buses, prepare seating arrangement for social distancing, take body temperature of passengers embarking the bus, provide hand sanitiser at the entrance of the bus and ensure all passengers wear face mask during the journey.

The bus companies were also informed that police permit was still required for inter-district journeys.

“It must be understood that the conditions as stipulated under the SOP are not intended to cause unnecessary inconveniences to the public but to protect everyone of the risk of being infected by coronavirus under the prevailing fragile situation,” Lee said.

The State Disaster Management Committee had recently decided that urban stage bus services can resume in green and yellow zones, which included Sibu, after being shutdown for some two months following the imposition of the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO).

Lee said the flat rate initiative was introduced after studies were done on how to improve the public bus services and to ensure that public transport operation was sustainable in view of the high operating and maintenance cost as well as the stiff competition from unlicensed van operators and e-hailing.

“The objectives of the RM1 flat rate bus fare are to encourage more people to use buses as their preferred mode of urban mobility, to alleviate the financial burden of low income group who are highly dependent on public bus transport, to design toward reducing urban traffic congestion and to encourage the bus companies to improve their services,” he said.

He said from his ground visits in Sibu, bus services were an important link for people from the Rajang riverine towns and sub-centres to their destinations.

The Borneo Post, May 20, 2020