School bus operators voice their plight

George Young (sixth right) with the school bus operators.

KOTA SAMARAHAN: School bus operators operating along Jalan Datuk Mohd Musa/Jalan Muara Tuang here are facing a hard time to make ends meet.

One of the operators, Jimmy Holiday Ambang, pointed out that they might not be able to continue operations following the Covid-19 situation and enforcement of movement control order (MCO) in the state.

“We are burdened with various operational costs valued from an average of RM1,000 to RM1,500 per month to maintain the vehicles.

“With the closure of schools during the start of MCO in March earlier this year, we have a hard time to fulfil that requirement.

“Even when the schools had reopened in July, there was still a huge decline in students taking school buses,” he said recently.

The school bus operators then approached Habitat For Indigenous & Urban Program (Hidup) president George Young Si Ricord Jr to assist them in highlighting their plights to the state authorities.

George suggested the Ministry of Transport (MOT) to allocate a one-off RM1,200 payment or other financial aid to the operators during the recovery movement control order (RMCO) until the reopening of schools in March next year.

He also called for a moratorium on repayment of loans from banking and credit-leasing companies as well as extension of wage subsidy programme under Social Security Organisation (Socso) to the operators.

“I was also informed that all school buses/van are required to undergo twice a year Puspakom mandatory check.

“Thus, the operators suggested that perhaps the regulatory vehicle check-up can be relaxed during this RMCO period as the cost for the vehicle check posed a further financial constrain during this period,” he said.