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Public transport: Commuters fear risk of infection riding in cramped coaches

12 Jun 2020 / 11:30 H.

PETALING JAYA: Public transport users have expressed concern over the government’s announcement that coaches for these services can now operate at full capacity.

Malaysians, particularly those who rely on public transport to commute to work daily, said while the move would help reduce waiting time during peak hours, it would be at the expense of safety.

Instead, they suggested that public transport providers increase their frequency to cater to more Malaysians returning to work following the relaxation of restrictions.

Rehvathi Rajendhiran, 33, an office manager at an IT company in Kuala Lumpur, said she would rather wait a little longer for a train than board one which is cramped with passengers.

“I’m not sure if it’s safe yet to operate at full capacity. Although it will save time, you have to be concerned about your own health,” she said yesterday.

“Unfortunately, many of us do not have a choice but to take public transport. The only thing we can do is to wear face masks and use hand sanitisers often.”

The mother of two said even prior to the announcement, many Malaysians had disregarded social distancing in trains, and allowing full capacity in public transport would only make things worse.

Insurance company manager Au Yuen Yee said some of her colleagues who commute to work using public transport are now considering buying cars fearing for their safety.

“Of course we are very concerned. The bus that I took everyday before the movement control order (MCO) was enforced was packed to the brim with little room to move. Can you imagine what will happen now with the Covid-19 threat.”

The 39-year-old said she would have preferred if the frequency of buses and trains was increased, rather than passenger loads.

One public transport operator that announced an increase in service frequency is the Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd, which operates KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit.

The service will be available at 20-minute intervals during peak hours from June 15 compared with 30 minutes during the MCO.

Yesterday, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that flights and public transport could now operate at full volume, including public and express buses, ferries and rail services.

Read the story in our iPaper. Click on the link below:

Concern over full capacity public transport operation

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