Covid-19 Impacts on Public Transport - Muscat, Oman

Covid-19 mobile testing bus – ©: Sinyar


  • Service suspension: 19 March – present
  • Fleet utilization for emergency services:
    • Patient transport
    • Covid-19 mobile testing

Based on government recommendations, all public transport services were fully suspended in Oman on 19 March. This includes bus, taxi and ferry services.

A week later, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Health (MoH), the fleet of bus operator Sinyar was utilized for emergency services. Inbound residents requiring quarantine were driven from the airport to quarantine hotels, and later from the hotels to their homes. A total of 310 buses were used and 4,706 passengers transported.

As of April, and following the request of MoH, two Sinyar buses were converted to serve as Covid-19 mobile testing vehicles, and three minibuses were used to transport passengers in hotspot areas to health centers. Upon returning to the depot, medical grade sterilization was conducted on all buses before fuel, wash and engineering inspections. Separation measures between drivers and passengers were also ensured.


Once public transport services are allowed to resume, Sinyar recommends making service adjustments in light of the expected reduction in passenger levels as well as lower capacity requirements. Proposed measures include resizing the network, shorter operating days, operating best routes first as well as internally reviewing contracts, assets and policies including leave to reduce expenditures and increase company savings.Given the current lockdown situation, Sinyar is not generating any fare-box revenue, and while government subsidies were increased, the operator is still losing more than it is saving in wheel turning costs.