End of the road for many school bus operators

21-Nov-2020 Intellasia | FreeMalaysiaToday | 6:02 AM Print This Post

An association for school bus operators expects many of them to go out of business next year following the closure of schools in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Federation of School Bus Associations Malaysia president Amali Munif Rahmat said it will not be feasible for many to continue operations as they have to fork out RM7,000 a month to maintain their vehicles even during school holidays.

He said this was made worse during the conditional movement control order (CMCO) with some parents unable to pay the full monthly fees.

“Overall, from the start of the year, we only received a maximum of six months’ fees. We are not getting anything for the other six months,” he said.

School closed when the MCO was enforced in March, but even when they reopened in July, there was a 30 percent drop in students taking school buses, Amali said.

He said many parents had opted to send their children themselves because of Covid-19 fears.

“Some operators have sold their buses and if schools are not reopened by January 20, we expect many more or some 30 percent to close shop,” he said, adding that many operators had moved on to find other sources of income.

Amali hoped Putrajaya can help the school bus operators, including a one-off RM600 payment.

He also called for a moratorium on repayment of loans from banking and credit-leasing companies to buy buses.

He said authorities should accord school bus operators, who on average provide transport for 1.5 million students from 700,000 families a day, the same treatment that e-hailing and taxi drivers were getting.

“We are upset that the government seems to have ignored our role,” he said.

School bus operator Mohd Ridzuan Hadis said he now switched to driving a lorry to transport fish to make ends meet.

He said even though schools were closed, operators still had to pay the salaries to drivers and pay their Employees Provident Fund contributions.

“We can’t save money let alone find it. The funds we have are depleted,” he said.

Ridzuan also hoped the wage subsidy programme under Socso could be extended to bus drivers.



Category: Malaysia

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