KUCHING (June 20): Bus services are now available along routes to Covid-19 vaccination centres (PPVs) in eight divisions starting June 18 to August 31, said Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin in a statement today.
Conducted under the ministry’s RM1 Flat Rate Bus Fare programme, he said the services are made available in Kuching, Kota Samarahan, Serian, Sri Aman, Sarikei, Sibu, Mukah and Miri divisions.
Lee said that the Sarawak government is very committed, and is putting in great effort, to getting all eligible Sarawakians vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
“Amidst all this, the state government is also fully aware that there are a number of people who do not have easy access to the PPV for immunisation purposes due to the distances from their homes or have large family members that cannot fit into the same car under the current standard operating procedure (SOP) for transport.
“In view of this, the Ministry of Transport has been tasked by the state government to coordinate with stage bus companies to extend their services and operate along routes linking to the PPVs for the convenience of the public,” he said.
For this purpose, Lee said his ministry had communicated with the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) for permission to allow stage bus companies to operate along routes linking to the PPVs.
On the buses’ schedule connecting to the PPVs, he said this is being worked out with the stage bus companies and the information will be released to the public soon.
Following the approval from CVLB, he said the ministry had issued letters to the relevent stage bus companies, informing them of the matter and urgently seeking their cooperation to provide bus services along the routes linking to the PPVs
He added that Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd has been invited to support this initiative by providing hydrogen bus services free of charge to the public along the routes connecting to the PPVs.
“The relevant government authorities including the police and Road Transport Department (JPJ) have also been notified to render all necessary assistance if required to ensure the success of this initiative.
“The cooperation rendered here will enable more people to have better and affordable transportation access to PPV or immunisation centres.
“More importantly, this initiative will contribute to the overall efforts undertaken by the state government to achieve a herd immunity so that the Covid-19 curve can be flattened and our lives and livelihood can return to normal soon,” he said.
He then expressed his thanks to the stage bus companies as well as Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd to support the initiative by rendering the services at a short notice in assisting the government achieve the herd immunity target.
He also urged all Sarawakians who are eligible and have not registered for vaccination to register now so they will not pose health risk to family members and will also be protected from people who unknowingly have been exposed to the virus.