The authority has worked closely with the public transport operators and the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) to secure short-term accommodation for the Malaysian public transport workers who would like to continue working in Singapore amid the nationwide lockdown in Malaysia, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Tuesday (17 March).
Earlier on 16 March, TOC received the information via an announcement by an SBS Transit spokesperson to its bus captains (BCs) at the Ang Mo Kio bus depot, requesting the BCs to stay in the resting area of the depots that are situated in Singapore for two weeks due to the travel restrictions in Malaysia.
According to the announcement, the company will impose a no-pay leave for those who are unwilling to stay in Singapore for the two weeks but it is not compulsory for them to stay as they will retain their jobs after the restrictions are lifted.
The BCs received a written notice from the company on the following day, stating that “90% of trips must be operated” and the bus drivers will be accommodated in the hotel room.
Shortly after TOC’s report, SBS also clarified on its Facebook page that it has secured temporary accommodation at several hotels for the Malaysian BCs.
“Contrary to an online report, our BCs will not be made to sleep on recliner chairs in our depots,” it wrote.
It hinted that the temporary accommodation will take effect immediately to ensure that scheduled bus services are not affected.
In response to queries from TOC, a spokesperson from LTA said the majority of Malaysian public transport workers who usually commute to work in Singapore have opted to continue working in the country and they will be staying at the accommodation the operators have arranged for them.
“We expect the impact on our train and bus operations to be limited for now, though there may be degradation of some bus services,” he noted.
LTA also expressed its gratitude for their efforts to keep Singapore’s public transport services running and assured that the COVID-19 situation is being monitored closely.
“LTA and the public transport operators are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and we will adjust our responses accordingly to minimise the impact on our commuters and workers,” he said.
Meanwhile, SBS posted on Facebook last night (17 March) a few photos of the Malaysian BCs and rail staff getting ready to turn in for the night after a long day at work.
It captioned, “Thank you all for agreeing to stay in Singapore, away from your family and loved ones”.
As for Tower Transit, it shared on its Facebook of its arrangment for their Malaysian Bus Captains to be put up at various hotels in Singapore.
“This will ensure our BCs have comfortable accommodations in spite of the inconveniences they are facing. This is a small gesture for the work they’re doing to keep our bus services going.” wrote the company.