File Photo: Students boarding the school bus.

FREE SCHOOL BUS SERVICE

KUCHING: There have been an increasing number of students using the free school bus service provided by the state government since its launch on Aug 18.

Mariaui waiting for students to board her bus.

One of the bus drivers, Mariaui Johari, 49, who was picking up students at SMK Petra Jaya on Friday, said she is thankful that a lot of students have taken the bus as a means for them to get to and from school.

“I am grateful that more students are taking the bus as compared to the first week where there were only one or two students,” she said.

Jamaruddin standing by as students board his bus.

Meanwhile, another bus driver, 34-year-old Jamaruddin Mustapha said he is also happy that more students are using the free bus service.

“The number of students using the bus now is definitely more than the previous week. Now I make three trips per day and so far my bus is always full,” he said.

Abdul Razak

A student, Abdul Razak, 15, said he believes bus drivers are adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Health Ministry (MOH), which contributed to the increase in the number of students using the service.

“I think safety is the main concern due to the fear whether social distancing can be practised inside the bus, but now we can see that the guidelines set by the ministry are being followed,” he said.

Nur Asyikin

Another student, Nur Asyikin, 14, also agreed — attributing the low number of students in the previous week to safety concerns due to the recent Covid-19 clusters.

 “However, I think more students feel safe now to board the bus as there are procedures being followed to ensure that social distancing is still maintained within the bus,” she said.

The free bus service makes several trips per day which starts as early as 6am and would standby to pick students up from school around 12pm.

The school bus waiting in front of SMK Petra Jaya.