KUALA TERENGGANU – Although there are just two passengers, a school bus or van driver still has to be professional in his or her job.
According to Terengganu School Bus Operators and Drivers Association deputy chairman, Muhammad Ayub Adam, this was today’s situation for a few van drivers on the first day back at school for Year 1 and Year 2 pupils.
He hopes things will return to normal after the other primary pupils start coming back to school on March 8.
“Today, just one-third of the 150 Terengganu school bus and van operators resumed their service because demand hasn’t bounced back yet.
“Based on information from association members, many parents are sending and picking up their children from school because they are worried about their safety during the bus or van journey.
“But we hope there will be a trend reversal and everything will return to normal soon,” said Muhammad Ayub, while adding that the operators are grateful to be back to their normal routine although demand has dropped by 30 – 50 per cent.
He said that many drivers were forced to find other sources of income after the pandemic closed schools last year.
“Some took on part-time work with courier companies, went into the food business, did odd jobs around the kampung or cut grass to earn a living,” said Muhammad Ayub who hopes they won’t be bypassed by government aid.
Kemaman District School Bus and Van Association chairperson, Kamariah Abdullah, said she hopes parents will trust them to follow the government’s standard operating procedure (SOP).
“We will ensure that they wear the mask while they are in the vehicle and not sit close to each other like before. If they can follow the SOP in school, they can also do it in the vehicle,” said Kamariah, who ferried 12 children to school today.
She praised the government for reopening schools, adding: “Although earnings are not like before, I’m glad to be moving on from selling nasi lemak for RM1.
“But I hope the state government will provide a special incentive like what was done for fellow drivers in Johor and Selangor,” said Kamariah who has been in the business for 20 years.