KUCHING: Sarawakians are encouraged to carpool to their polling stations for the 15th General Election (GE15) as it would help save time and money, says state Deputy Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil.

“If there is any opportunity to reduce congestion and provide convenience, and if there is any arrangement for individuals to carpool, by all means, we encourage it.

“It will also build camaraderie in terms of coming together for the election,” he told reporters after launching the AirAsia Ride ehailing service here yesterday.

Polling for GE15 falls on Nov 19 after a 14-day campaign period.

Dr Jerip also said the state Transport Ministry had written to its federal counterpart and the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) to increase the number of flights to Sarawak, particularly during the elections, so that Sarawakians in Peninsular Malaysia can travel back to vote.

“We hope for a favourable outcome so that there can be more flights,” he said.

AirAsia Ride regional chief executive Lim Chiew Shan said the company would consider rewarding drivers for transporting voters to polling stations on polling day.

“Bearing in mind our drivers will also be voting, there might not be enough supply on the road.

“So we plan to come up with some bonuses for drivers,” he said when asked if AirAsia Ride would provide promotional fares on polling day.

Meanwhile, Dr Jerip welcomed AirAsia Ride’s entry into Sarawak as it provides an alternative means of transport as well as job opportunities for Sarawakians.

He called on the company to maintain its “driver-forward” commitment, including low commission rates and other benefits.

“I understand that the AirAsia Ride fleet programme also provides drivers with EPF, Socso and insurance coverage, as well as better pay and job stability,” he said.

Lim said AirAsia Ride currently has more than 350 drivers in Kuching, and is targeting 500 by the end of the year.

“We can potentially go up to 3,000 drivers in Sarawak eventually,” he said.