The state’s bus transportation industry is experiencing a slump due to the 1,000 vacancies for bus driver positions.
Johor Bus Operators Association chairman, Datuk Suchdav Jotisroop said the vacancies are affecting operations of bus companies.
He said the situation was stalling the sector’s recovery after it faced a lot of setbacks during the various movement controls brought about by Covid-19.
Suchdav said the main factor which prevented many bus drivers to return to their previous jobs was their bigger earnings in food or goods delivery companies.
“The monthly salary for a bus driver is between RM2,500 and RM3,000, but when they switch to food delivery or courier services, their salary could reach between RM4,000 or RM6,000.
“This has greatly reduced the competition within the bus drivers fraternity.
“As operators, we are unable raise their salaries because the price of bus tickets are controlled by the government. If this persists , bus companies will probably become even more badly affected by the situation,” he told Harian Metro during a press conference at his office on Monday.
Suchdav, who is chief executive officer of Syarikat Kenderaan S&S Sdn Bhd and S&S International Express, said prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were more than 4,000 drivers for intercity and long-distance bus routes, tour buses and factory buses in Johor.
He estimated there were currently 1,000 drivers left who continued to ply the express bus and stage bus routes in the state.
“Since Covid-19, many buses stopped operating, and many bus drivers looked for other jobs. Those who were infected (with Covid-19) had to go on leave to receive treatment.
“Bus drivers aged 65 could not get their work contracts renewed because they could no longer receive coverage from insurance companies.”
He said operators also faced problems when recruiting certain senior drivers, which affected the services to their customers. He claimed that certain ‘senior’ drivers accumulated a lot of traffic summonses.
Suchdav urged the government to intervene in the issue of bus driver vacancies.
He also suggested for the authorities to utilise the Human Resources Development Fund to train new bus drivers.
“The government could encourage the unemployed or graduates, who have yet to obtain jobs to join in a career as a bus driver. These candidates could be given training and a special allowance,” he said.