On 26 December, 26 passengers on a first class massage coach was bitten by bed-bugs for 8 hours en route to Singapore.
A Singaporean permanent-resident Natalie Yap, 29, who was onboard the bus that departed from Kuala Lumpur at 4pm, posted her account of the nightmare on Facebook which went viral with over 9,000 shares.
“I fell asleep once I got on the bus. After an hour, my whole body started to itch. I touched my back and felt some bumps. At first I thought it was a skin allergy, but I soon discovered the truth when I saw a bed-bug on my jacket. I quickly informed the bus driver about it,” said Natalie.
However, the driver refused to admit Natalie’s claim and said that the bus was not in use for over 2 weeks. The driver even accused Natalie of not washing her clothes implying that her clothes were dirty.
“He also told me that if there were really any bed-bugs, why was I the only one complaining while the rest of the passengers kept quiet,” said Natalie.
She then moved to a front seat without seat-belt until they arrived at a rest station. Natalie asked other passengers about the bites when she couldn’t take it anymore. Apparently everyone on-board was bitten by bed-bugs as well but they chose to suffer in silence, reported Straits Times.
Upon returning to the bus, all 26 passengers would not sit down, and started to squash the bugs.
“We requested for another bus, but there was no bus available due to the hectic festive schedule. It was already midnight when we reached the customs. After waiting for an hour for another bus, the driver advised us to persevere for a little bit longer. We had no choice but to get on the bugs-ridden bus. But none of us sit down,” commented Natalie.
According to Chinapress, the situation was so bad that some passengers even stood on the bus for 3 hours to avoid getting bitten. Natalie on the other hand put on long pants and long sleeve clothes to avoid contact with the bugs. However, the bugs somehow got into her clothes and bit her back, lower back, arms and thighs. She estimated that she was bitten more than 30 times by the bed-bugs.
According to Straits Times, Natalie paid $70 (RM 216) for the return ticket and $64 (RM 197) for treatment over the bug-bites. She has demanded the bus company to provide a full refund and cover her medical expenses.
Mr. Ravindran who works as assistant manager at Startmart Express’s Singapore said that the alleged bug-ridden bus had been taken off service and sent to headquarters for inspection.
For the passengers, I guess that must be the longest 8 hours in their lives.