KUALA LUMPUR: Bus operators have been lax over the safety of their buses until action was taken against them, said the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief executive Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal.
He said SPAD had first engaged operators on safety procedures in November 2012, and had come up with an industrial code of practice in late 2013.
He said attitudes towards safety only changed after an operator was suspended in November 2013 when a bus crashed in Genting Highlands killing 37 people last year.
Since then, 42 operators have been audited with 10 of them getting suspended after they were found to have violated safety regulations.
SPAD’s statistics showed that there were 4,534 express buses, 5,158 tour buses and 736 chartered buses operating in the country. There were 198 express bus operators, 141 chartered bus companies and 896 tour bus businesses.
Mohd Nur said SPAD had also compelled operators to employ controllers to monitor the speed limits of the buses via the Global Positioning System (GPS) while they were on the road.
Many companies, he said, failed to faithfully monitor their buses especially after normal work hours.
The recent crashes, he said, have spurred SPAD to audit all express bus operators on the speed profiles of their vehicles over the next 30 days.
After that, the operators will be required to send SPAD a report on their buses’ speed profiles every week and to give an explanation if speed limits were broken.
SPAD admitted that keeping the drivers in check would be a challenge.
Mohd Nur said SPAD had only 24 officers to carry out regular audits and five men for post-accident audits.
Also, he said, the validity of driving licences, vehicle roadworthiness and which kind of buses could ply which routes came under the purview of the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and not SPAD.