The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has deliberated and approved the resumption of express/regional Bus services in Sarawak with immediate effect.

KUCHING: The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has deliberated and approved the resumption of express/regional bus services in Sarawak with immediate effect, said Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin.

Lee said the decision was made following the encouraging result of the government efforts to curtail the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in Sarawak and to-date, all divisions have been categorised as either green or yellow zones.

“The approval for express/regional buses to operate inter-district or inter-division does not include cross international border bus services such as from Sarawak to West Kalimantan or from Sarawak to Brunei or from Sarawak to Sabah and vice versa,” he said in a press statement today.

According to Lee, SDMC has decided that express/regional bus operators plying and operating across all districts in Sarawak need not have to obtain permit from the police but people who wish to travel across district boundaries are required to seek prior permission from the police.

“All express/regional bus operators intending to resume bus operations and services across district boundaries must still comply with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) established under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) rules and guidelines for resumption of business activities,” he stressed.

The SOPs include bus operators to sanitisise the buses; bus drivers to undergo health screening; bus operators to reorganise seating arrangements in the buses to comply social distancing; bus operators to provide handheld thermometre to check passengers body temperature and to make available hand sanitisers; bus drivers to ensure passengers wear face masks throughout the journey; and bus drivers are to ensure that all passengers have police permits before allowing them to board the buses.

Lee said that at all scheduled stops along the designated rest areas, bus drivers must sanitise buses with aerosol before allowing embarking passengers into the buses, who must in turn display their police permits before boarding the buses.

He added that express/regional bus operators must notify the SDMC on the date when they resume operations.

“All express/regional bus operators must notify the public and create awareness on the resumption of their bus services by providing information on the bus schedules, fares and the routes travelled through their company websites and social media,” he said.

On the resumption of stage bus service in Kuching, Lee said the SDMC has approved stage buses operating between districts namely from Kuching City to Bau town, Kuching City to Kota Samarahan and vice versa respectively.

He added that the Kuching Bus Association had also informed his ministry that stage bus service in Kuching City will resume operation on June 10.

“However, passengers travelling on these inter-district routes must obtain police permits to travel and the bus drivers are required to ensure that this guideline is strictly followed.

“Bus operators resuming their bus operation and business activities are encouraged to publicise and promote the schedule of buses, RM1 bus fare and their routes to the public through their websites and social media,” he said.