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Singapore travellers affected as Malaysian coach operator Konsortium shuts down

[SINGAPORE] A travel agency specialising in coach trips to Malaysia was found to have closed down unexpectedly on Thursday.

Passengers who turned up at Konsortium Express & Tours' head office at Golden Mile Tower were shocked to find its doors locked and lights turned off.

A notice pasted on the door said that the agency had shut due to the company facing a "financial crisis" and that all services had ceased with immediate effect.

The notice advised passengers with unfulfilled trips to claim travel insurance or to go to the small claims tribunal to apply for a refund.

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"We are deeply apologetic for the sudden closure and we seek your forgiveness," the notice ended.

Many passengers wanting to travel to Malaysia are believed to be affected.

Last month, The Straits Times reported that Konsortium's coach tickets for the Chinese New Year Eve period had almost sold out, with the agency driving around four times as many buses as usual across the Causeway.

Other workers in the building were caught by surprise by the agency's closure.

Mr Derrick Liew, 42, who works at the coffeeshop next to the agency, said: "They were open yesterday and I did not notice anything strange."

An employee of nearby coach agency Starmart Express, who only wanted to be known as Madam Fu, said she was surprised to hear that the company had shut but said that she had not been seeing as many Konsortium coaches during the last year.

ST has approached Konsortium for comment.

The Express and Excursion Bus Association said many of its member companies will provide free trips to those who bought tickets directly with Konsortium, and who are travelling to Malaysia from now till Mar 1.

A spokesman for the association told ST that they had only heard about the news on Thursday morning, and were unable to get in touch with Konsortium, which is one of its members.

"Our focus now is on helping any affected travelers the best we can," he said. The spokesman added that because Konsortium is one of the largest coach companies in Singapore, they are expecting a lot of people to be affected.

The managing director of Transtar Travel, Mr Elson Yap, said: "I knew that Konsortium was facing financial difficulties last year, but this sudden closure came as a shock."

Affected travellers can call them on 62988425 or contact Grassland Express & Tours, Lapan Lapan Travel, Sri Maju Tours & Travel, Transtar Travel or WTS Travel & Tours.

THE STRAITS TIMES

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