CMCO immobilises buses again

People are not travelling except maybe for work, but many have started to work from home

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic credit: Rapid KL Facebook

SINCE the reinstatement of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in the Klang Valley, stage and express buses have been staying put in their parking bays.

The Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association (PMBOA) president Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali said when the CMCO was first announced, there was not much that bus operators could do.

“There was nothing for us to prepare. We are paralysed again,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently.

He pointed out the issues faced by bus operators, the first being that although buses can operate within the CMCO areas which are the entire Selangor, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur, it would be at a tedious cost.

“If people want to travel, they must go through roadblocks and the police will question their destinations and travel purposes, if they are suspicious.

“To avoid going through all that trouble, people are not travelling except maybe for work, but many have started to work from home, so our passengers have dropped tremendously,” he said.

Those who need to travel between the three areas need to obtain a permit from the police through letters and forms, adding to people’s reluctance to travel unless for emergencies.

“I don’t see anyone wanting to take the bus to go anywhere as they would rather stay at home,” Mohamad Ashfar told TMR.

Mohamad Ashfar said even though all economic sectors remain open during the CMCO as announced by Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, that does not mean that all businesses would succeed as many depend on customers.

“I can run my buses up and down the roads, but whether people will come or not, is a different story.

“We hope that the CMCO will not prolong, but it depends on so many factors, such as controlling the spread of the pandemic. It is really difficult to say,” he noted.

Additionally, Mohamad Ashfar said to date, the industry has not received any form of direct aid from the government like other sectors during the previous lockdown.

In July, PMBOA had a meeting with the Transport Ministry to discuss the issues affecting stage and express bus operators throughout the country.

“We have informed them of our grouses, but until today, nothing has happened. We are just waiting for them to sort things internally and let us know.

“Nothing has been done and with this new wave of Covid-19, as well as with our political situation, I doubt anybody is thinking about the bus industry’s problems,” he concluded.