Bus operators hopeful with endemicity, borders reopening

They are hoping for the ticket sales to return to pre-Covid level


BUS operators are looking forward to boosting their ticket sales with the country’s entrance into endemicity.

Pancaran Matahari Sdn Bhd executive chairman Mohamad Kaharruddin Salleh said when interstate travel was allowed, ticket sales grew as people rushed back to their hometowns to be reunited with loved ones.

Read more: Travelling to Malaysia? Here’s a list of what you need to do first

“It was not as much as pre-Covid times but it gave us a ray of hope.

“However, not long after that, the emergence of the new Omicron variant caused our invigorating sales to drop,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently.

Simultaneously, with the country entering the endemic phase where its international borders are reopens today, Mohamad Kaharruddin looked forward to customers returning to using bus services for their travels to neighbouring countries like Singapore.

On the other hand, Amazing Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd director Mohd Anuar Fazal Din did not share Kaharruddin’s optimism, as his company has yet to receive any reservation for international travels.

“Our reservations actually began declining in December 2019 but we were badly affected in March 2020 when Malaysia was first placed under the Movement Control Order.

“To date there are no reservations made for our services,” TMR was told.

Read more: Malaysia enters endemic phase, reopen borders on April 1

According to Anuar, even if the borders reopen, he would not expect the response to be overwhelming due to the coming month of Ramadhan which he said is quite slow for travel agencies, be it with Muslim or non-Muslim tourists.

“I believe people are still cautious and have a wait-and-see approach. Once they start seeing the positive outcomes of border reopening, I believe tourists will start travelling.

“Moreover, the Russia-Ukraine war also affected our international prospects, hence, this will take a little bit of time for us,” he added.

Nevertheless, he saw the government’s decision to declare endemicity as the best decision in helping the country’s development and economic recovery.

Read more: Malaysia needs more workforce on border reopening

Additionally, the Land Public Transport Agency recently announced opening a Temporary Change Licence application in conjunction with the Aidilfitri celebration this year to cater to the demand and ensure sufficient express buses.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob also announced in conjunction with the border reopening, there will be a one-week toll exemption for all vehicles travelling between Johor and Singapore at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex at the Sultan Iskandar Building and the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex in Iskandar Puteri.

Malaysia has been closed to international tourists for two years and the border reopening comes with certain protocols.

Travellers are to download the MySejahtera application, upload the real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results before departure and fill a pre-release form.

Read more: Tourism, hoteliers race to welcome travellers on April 1