Spotlight on double-decker buses

SEPANG: The safety of double-decker buses does not appear to fall under the jurisdiction of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), but under other agencies such as Puspakom and Road Transport Department (JPJ).

SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the commission is only responsible for issuing the licence.

"We only issue licences for such buses to operate after they have gone through a thorough inspection by the authorities," he said.

"After going through the inspection, and if the buses are certified, then only we will release the licence to the operators. The initial stages are all done by other related agencies," he added.

Syed Hamid said SPAD is not trying to play the blame game, but "however, I can see that there are some problems on enforcement".

"All of the agencies related to this should be standardised to avoid any overlapping of jurisdiction," he said when responding to a question by reporters accompanying him on a tour of klia2 on whether double-decker buses are safe for use on our roads.

On working hours for bus drivers, he said they should not keep silent if they were forced to work more than their designated hours.

"They can take their plight to the Ministry of Human Resources. There should not be any abuse of working conditions of drivers," he said.

Meanwhile, MCA Public Services and Complaints Bureau chairman Jason Teoh said in a statement bus drivers should be paid a minimum wage and alternate drivers provided for long trips.

"They should also be given meals, telephone allowances capped with a ceiling and likewise be paid over time rates as well," he said, adding that inter-state bus drivers and especially those taking the wheel after 6pm and whose shift exceeds 12 hours should be given a mandatory rest period of eight hours.

Teoh said the move will not only motivate the drivers but also ensure safety of the passengers.

On April 13, a double-decker bus crashed at KM11 of the Jalan Bentong-Raub, killing three people and injuring 10.

On Sunday, a double-decker bus plunged into a ravine on the Kuantan-Segamat highway, killing one and injuring 39 passengers.