Restricting public transport hours counterproductive, says former transport minister

Bus passengers are seen wearing face masks amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Kuala Lumpur March 16, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Bus passengers are seen wearing face masks amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Kuala Lumpur March 16, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 23 — Former transport minister Anthony Loke has criticised the government’s move to restrict the daily operational hours for public transport due to an alleged drop in passenger numbers following the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO).

He said the new time of 6am to 10am and 5pm to 10pm is “counter-productive” as it would then force commuters, needing to use public transport to go to the markets, to wake up earlier and buy their groceries before 10am so they can head home.

“I think the steps to not allow public transport operations from 10am to 5pm will bring the effect of ‘counterproductive’.

“Most of the supermarkets are only open after 10am. For those who are out and back between 10 am to 5pm, they have no choice but to use taxi services or e-travel. 

“Won’t this add their daily spending burden?” Loke asked in a Facebook post.

He said the government should think of ways to reduce the expenses of the people in difficult conditions now and told them to review this law in order to not create a huge number of passengers in the morning.

“People who depend on public buses to go to the market or supermarket to purchase goods and food have to do so before 10am and this will add the number of passengers who went to work at that time. This is what should be avoided at the moment.

“I call the government to review the steps and I suggest that all public transport operators are given leniency to determine their operating schedule which is reducing trip trip at a time not the peak between 10am to 5pm,” he added.

Earlier today, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said during the MCO, public transport is only needed by workers travelling to and from work.

However, Ismail said that the new operating hours for public transport will not affect e-hailing services.

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