Updated: 08/01/2014 23:47

Bus operators and ASME on bus strike

Bus operators and ASME on bus strike

Commuters from Johor Bahru to Singapore found themselves caught in gridlock today, as bus drivers went on strike at the Johor Bahru checkpoint. 

The Malaysian bus drivers were protesting new toll charges imposed by their government. 

Our news desk with more on what happened this morning.

Traffic slowed to a crawl at the Johor checkpoint in the wee hours of Friday morning. 

President of Johor Bahru Bus Association of Factory Bus Operators and Drivers, Tan Peng Chai, says he was alerted to the incident at 4:30am, and promptly went down to assess the situation. 

"Some transporters, they're not happy, and they want to discuss about the increment. So they just left their vehicle there. All the vehicles cannot move."

Mr Tan is also the managing director of Transporter Tan Bus Service - a bus operator shuttling between Singapore and Johor. 

Some 40 buses in his fleet were affected. 

"Some outside, before entering Customs, so still can turn to other way. Go Second Link. Some inside, is already go into the Causeway, cannot turn. So we asked them to take a walk."

Another bus operator, Tan Teyo Nang, says that five to six of his buses were affected. 

Some two to three hundred students were on these buses, and in order to get to school, they had to cross the Causeway on foot. 

"For those secondary students, the uncle allow them to work over. For those primary school students, the uncle need to send them back. Because too young, cannot."

Both bus operators say the jam subsided around 8am. 

Back home, the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises received feedback of businesses being disrupted. 

President Kurt Wee says that businesse were affected as their workers were unable to report for work. 

"Pest control companies cannot function, security guards cannot report for work, operational managers on the ground is struggling to attend to customer complaints and their mobile phones are running out of batteries. They have no solutions and they're talking about giving their workers the day off. Because how do you conjure the necessary headcount suddenly, in a short notice like this?"

The strike happened on the first day new toll charges were implemented. 

From August the 1st, buses have to pay a toll of RM13.30, or about S$5, at the Johor Bharu checkpoint in Malaysia for a round trip. 

That's more than five times the current RM2.30 ringgit or about S$0.90. 

-By Valerie Koh

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