Many heading back to hometowns
Published on: Saturday, May 23, 2020
By: Ottey Peter and Anthea Peter
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The ‘Balik Raya’ atmosphere at Terminal Bus Inanam.
Kota Kinabalu: Many are taking the opportunity of the lifting of restriction on inter-district travel during the current MCO to head for their hometowns, a Daily Express check at the Inanam Bus Terminal, showed.

Passengers were seen sitting on the benches with their luggage, waiting to embark on the buses that would take them home to their families for the coming Hari Raya celebration. 

A woman in her 20s, who was bound for Sandakan with her younger sister, said that after months of not returning to their hometown, they decided to do so for Aidilfitri. Asked on her confidence level in travelling despite the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, she said they had no choice. 

“We just have to do it (terpaksalah),” she said, adding that it would be fine as long as the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) imposed by the Health Ministry are in place. 

“We did not need to acquire a letter or permission to travel out of the district. All we had to do was just buy a ticket at the counter,” she said.

Bus operators have been vigilant in conducting the mandatory body temperature checks and sanitisation for all passengers. However, they lamented about reduced fare revenue due to the Movement Control Order, social distancing rules and other standard operating procedure (SOP) imposed by the Government to curb the spread of Covid-19.

One of them who identified himself as Donald, who manages Amin Jaya Express in Terminal Inanam, said travelling capacity had dropped to 20 passengers per bus, while fare revenues have plunged about 50 per cent. 

“We made quite a lot profit in previous years, but this year it is much lesser. Usually we can take in about 40 to 43 passengers in a bus but due to the coronavirus, only 20 people are allowed. 

“We maintained the fare at RM75 per person and are losing money because the number of passengers are limited,” he said, Friday.

Other bus operators also voiced out their concern over the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak on public transport and hoped the Government can provide assistance for them to sustain operations.


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