A bus ride from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore turned nightmarish for its passengers, when they were forced to endure 10 hours worth of non-stop itching and bedbug bites.
One of the passengers who was onboard, posted a Facebook status about the incident on the night of Monday, 26 December.
Hannah Zekie posted a status saying that the bus she was onboard, Starmart Express has deleted her complaint on their website regarding the incident.
Singaporean English daily, Straits Times, shed more light on the matter after speaking to Natalie Yap a.k.a. Hannah Zekie.
Yap described how her body was so itchy and that all the passengers were suffering the same fate from about 4pm till 1am on Monday evening onboard a bus that takes pride in being a "first class massage coach".
"I would like to state my utter disappointment on this unpleasant journey that caused me to be mentally and physically exhausted after enduring the long hours of bugs biting."
Yap is a 29-year-old administrative executive who is a Singapore permanent resident. When the incident happened, she was travelling back to Singapore after spending her Christmas holidays in KL.
Yap spoke to The Straits Times yesterday, 28 December and explained the chain of events that happened on that fateful night.
Yap said that she boarded the bus along with 26 other passengers near the Berjaya Times Square shopping mall around 4pm on Monday, 26 December.
Everything was fine, till about an hour into the journey. Yap had fallen asleep but was rudely awakened by terrible itching all over her body. That's when she discovered that there were bedbugs on her seat and clothes.
She quickly approached the bus driver and asked to change buses but he informed her that it is not possible as there's not other buses available due to the hectic festive schedule.
"He refused to admit there were bedbugs on the bus and implied that it was because my clothes were dirty. He also told me that if there were really any bedbugs, why was I the only one complaining while the rest of the passengers kept quiet," said Yap.
Left with little choice, Yap moved to a seat nearer to the front of the bus which had no seatbelt. She ended up spending the next four hours completely uncomfortable until the bus finally reached a rest area.
To her horror, she discovered that she wasn't the only one was suffering from the itches and bites. Almost all the other passengers on the bus were also bitten by the bedbugs.
Yap had paid around SGD70 (approximately RM217) for the trip.
All the passengers were forced to sit still and go through this horrible experience for the next six hours till the bus reached Singapore around 1am on Tuesday, 27 December.
By then, Yap had around 30 bites on her arms, legs, and upper body.
After the harrowing experience, Yap stressed that she would never again take the Starmart Express bus, especially since this is the second time she's facing issues with their service
She had a bad experience with Starmart Express when the bus she took broke down several times last year.
She was also disappointed that her complaint was taken down by Starmart.
"I initially posted the bedbugs complaint on Starmart's Facebook page, but they took it down. So I put it up on my page to warn my friends; I didn't expect it to spread so fast.
"After it went viral, other Starmart passengers also told me of their experiences with bedbugs on their buses," explained Yap to Straits Times.
Yap is demanding a total and complete refund of the bus fare and her medical expenses.
Seeking more clarification from the bus company, The Straits Times, also spoke to Mr Ravindran, the assistant manager at Starmart Express' Singapore office
Mr Ravindran explained that the bedbugs infested bus has already been taken off service, pending further investigation and that the bus company has so far received four complaints about the incident.
Stressing that complaints about bedbugs are uncommon, Mr Ravindran said that the company will need to conduct further investigations before deciding on whether to give refunds to the passengers that have filed their complaints.
"The problem could have arisen because of a passenger's belongings," added Mr Ravindran when speaking to Straits Times.
Starmart Express buses travel to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore daily, rounding up more than 12 trips a day.
Yap's Facebook post has more than 2,000 likes and 11,000 shares to date.
What would you do if you were bitten by bedbugs on a bus trip? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Just two days ago, a bus driver was caught texting and smoking while driving from Kuala Lumpur to Muar: