KUALA LUMPUR: Enforcement officers may be put in every express and additional bus during the Chinese New Year balik kampung rush in a move to curb accidents.
Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board chairman Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar said the board would work with police and the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to come up with the required number of bus marshalls.
“We had a meeting this (yesterday) morning and we’ve decided to put enforcement officers on express and additional buses during the Chinese New Year period,” he told reporters at his office here yesterday.
He said officers would have to come from other enforcement agencies as the CVLB only had 50 enforcement staff. About 3,000 express buses will be operating during the Chinese New Year period.
“We will assign one enforcement officer to one express bus. If we do not get enough enforcement officers, we will then have to concentrate on the high-risk routes,” he said. He, however, declined to name what routes were considered “high risk.”
Like air marshalls proposed to prevent aircraft hijackings, the bus marshalls would deter drivers from speeding.
“Some drivers have been found to be rushing to complete their trips because more trips means more money. But when they do this, they break the law, and driving fast causes accidents. We have to put a stop to this,” he said.
Raja Ahmad Zainuddin said police would conduct random drug tests on drivers of express and extra buses before they set off on their journeys and after they arrive at their destinations.
He also said the rule to limit express bus operating hours to between 7am and 9pm would not be reconsidered and would be implemented from Jan 22.
These steps follow the frequent occurrence of accidents involving express buses during festive seasons, including the one involving a collision of an express bus and an additional bus near Kuala Lipis, Pahang, which killed 15 people during the recent Hari Raya period.
On the recently launched CVLB telephone hotline and short message system (SMS) complaints number, Raja Ahmad Zainuddin said a total of 43 complaints had been received and the board was investigating them.
He said seven complaints were against taxis, two against school buses, 11 against stage buses, nine against lorries, one against a tour bus and 13 against express buses.
“Commercial vehicles have until Dec 31 to display the hotline number for the convenience of the public to make a complaint against errant drivers,” he said.
The public can also send their complaints via SMS to 39900 or call the toll-free number 1-800-889600.
Raja Ahmad Zainuddin said express bus companies could apply for additional permits now for the Chinese New Year period. The permits are for seven days before and after the festival.