by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA
KUALA LUMPUR – Despite the floods that has hit the country, causing extensive damage and leaving vehicles stranded in flood waters, bus operators still strive to provide the best services.
Peninsular Malay Express Bus Operators Association (Pembawa) president Mohamed Kaharrudin Salleh said bus operators were also vulnerable to flood disasters and cannot avoid it because natural disasters are not something planned.
He said, it has become the norm for bus operators to face problems and risks during the monsoon season, especially involving the east coast area.
“Operators (buses) and passengers are aware (of the risks). Of course in terms of time, the loss is there, but we have to accept (disaster), that is the scenario in the monsoon season. We also hope passengers understand the current situation, delayed travel and buses unable to operate,” he told Bernama.
He, however, said bus operators would provide services as long as they could in high-risk areas, subject to current conditions.
Several states, namely Perak, Pahang, Terengganu, Selangor, Johor and Kelantan are facing the current flood situation, causing some roads to be closed either due to rising water levels or landslides, which clearly affects the operation of bus operators.
Perdana Express bus operator Laili Ismail told Bernama that the current flood disaster in Pahang was a bad experience for him but he managed to come through.
Laili said one of his buses was badly affected in a flood incident in Raub, Pahang two days ago when the driver and passenger were stranded in the Jeram Besu area due to the high water level where the bus was half submerged.
As of yesterday, Laili said he was informed by the bus driver that the passengers were still stranded, apart from that he could not send his staff to the area as the road was closed.
“The bus was stranded near Benta, near Jeram Besu, due to the water rising across the road. The driver tried to get the bus across but got stuck halfway and the engine went dead. So firemen went to pick up the passengers.
“Firefighters used a boat to go and pick up the passengers. I saw the water had receded, I wanted to have the bus towed to the workshop. This is the first time such a thing has happened to me, 12 years as a bus operator, this is the first time it happened like this,” he said.
Laili said his bus which was stranded in Terengganu also caused a heavy traffic jam.
“Time did run out, for example the bus from Kuala Terengganu to Kuala Lumpur left on Jan 3 at 9.30 pm got and got stuck in Lanchang, Pahang due to high water level.
“The bus was stranded, I remember for more than five hours near Gambang before proceeding to TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan, Kuala Lumpur),” said Laili who is also the Darul Iman Express bus operator.