Group urges operators to implement strict polices and better enforcement of rules to ensure passenger welfare

PETALING JAYA: Another express bus crash in the early hours of Sunday, which killed two and injured several others, has heightened calls for authorities to immediately bolster safety standards.

There were six express bus crashes nationwide between January and May, theSun reported yesterday.

And with Sunday’s 12.31am crash involving 39 passengers, which allegedly occurred when an express bus overturned on a slope after colliding with a trailer at Jalan Bahau-Keratong near Muadzam Shah, the number of bus crashes has risen to seven.

Alliance for A Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye called on bus operators to implement strict policies to ensure passenger safety.

“There must be stringent enforcement of rules to ensure bus drivers are adequately rested so passengers can remain safe during their bus rides.

“The responsibility for passenger safety does not lie solely with bus drivers. A noticeable lack of effective measures and enforcement from those in charge is to blame too.”

Lee said bus crashes and passenger safety have been a persistent concern for many years and has expressed frustration over the continuing negligence in resolving the issues.

He said apart from the authorities and bus operators, other vehicle drivers also play a significant role in maintaining road safety.

Hence, he said it is essential for all drivers, regardless of the type of vehicle one operates, to be mindful and considerate of other vehicles on the road.

“It is critical to be aware of blind spots and avoid sudden manoeuvres near other vehicles as this can help to prevent crashes and ensure the safety of all road users.

“If the driver or the condition of the bus causes a problem, the operators must ensure safety rules are in place to address such issues and follow them without fail.”

Lee called on bus drivers to operate their vehicles with the highest regard for safety, which includes following traffic regulations, being attentive while driving and managing emergencies that arise in transit.

He also stressed that drivers must perform pre-trip inspections to ensure their buses are in proper working order and address any mechanical issues before safety is compromised.

“Companies should invest in regular driver training programmes that emphasise defensive driving techniques, emergency response procedures and customer service skills.”

Road Safety Expert Association founder Jamil M. Aruf said full responsibility for passenger safety lies with the bus operator or the bus operating company.

“They must ensure that their buses are in good condition to be on the road and hire qualified drivers who have some knowledge of bus maintenance, not just driving skills.

“The drivers must be in good health, comply with the company’s standard operating procedures, be responsible and disciplined, and have a clean driving record.”

Jamil said it is vital to foster close collaboration with regulatory bodies, to ensure safety levels for both buses and drivers, as well as passengers.

“Holding regular meetings to evaluate service performance holistically, including gathering feedback from passengers, is essential for enhancing overall service quality.

“In case the driver commits any traffic offences, passengers should lodge reports with the Transport Ministry’s Integrity Unit apart from the bus operators themselves.”

Jamil said the combined efforts of bus drivers and operators are essential to create a secure and reliable transport system that passengers can trust.