Singapore

Konsortium bus company shuts down unexpectedly, travellers affected

A travel agency specialising in coach trips to Malaysia closed down unexpectedly yesterday.

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

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

It advised customers with unfulfilled trips to claim on their travel insurance or to go to the Small Claims Tribunals to apply for a refund.

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

Konsortium was popular with people travelling to Malaysia.

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 deploying four times as many buses as usual across the Causeway.

The agency's closure caught other workers in the building by surprise as well.

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

The Express and Excursion Bus Association said some 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 March 1.

Affected travellers can call the association at 6298-8425 or contact Grassland Express & Tours, Lapan Lapan Travel, Sri Maju Tours & Travel, Transtar Travel, The One Travel & Tours or WTS Travel & Tours.

A spokesman for the association told ST it heard about the closure only yesterday morning, and was unable to get in touch with Konsortium, which is one of its members.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said last night that it has revoked Konsortium's travel agent licence.

It urged affected consumers who have purchased travel insurance before the closure to approach their insurance providers for assistance.

It added that the Surface Transport Committee of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas) is rallying local transport operators to take over affected bookings.

The executive director of the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), Mr Loy York Jiun, said it had received one complaint involving Konsortium's closure.

He said affected customers can create a record with Case so that it can update them on new developments.

When ST went to the home of one of Konsortium's listed secretaries, an occupant of the house declined to comment.

Transport