KUALA LUMPUR: Except for journeys less than 100km, express buses will not be allowed to operate between 9pm and 7am two days before and after Chinese New Year.
This is among the measures introduced by the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) to promote safe journeys during Chinese New Year on Jan 22.
Other moves to be implemented include requiring express buses and factory and school buses be issued temporary permits during the period to have two drivers each if they are making 300km or four-hour journeys and longer.
About 1,000 permits are expected to be issued to school and factory bus operators.
Another measure to curb accidents is the barring of heavy vehicles from main roads and highways two days before and after Chinese New Year.
CVLB chairman Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar said for short journeys such as from Kuala Lumpur to Seremban or Malacca, the express buses would be allowed to operate after 9pm.
“We will ensure there are feeder buses or taxis available at the terminals to send passengers to their final destinations in the wee hours of the morning,” he said after a second meeting with the police, Road Transport Department (JPJ) and City Hall on the measures at his office yesterday.
“If the move reduced road accidents involving buses, it would be extended to other festive seasons,” he said.
On enforcement officers on board express buses during the festive season, he said that as this was at the initial stage, some 200 personnel would be assigned at random for the main routes and routes where accidents had often occurred.
He said the board could not deploy enforcement officers for all the buses as it had only 37 officers nationwide and thus needed assistance from the police and Road Transport Department (JPJ).
“The officers will make a report or take immediate action against drivers who break the rules,” he said, adding that if effective this might be extended to other festive periods.
As a long-term measure, he said, apart from its present SMS and hotline services for people to register their complaints, complaint forms would be placed in express buses for passengers to fill and post to him.
He said 3,000 forms had been printed.
He said most complaints received were on speeding and reckless bus drivers.
The board also planned to have visual presentation on board all express buses to provide safety information before the start of journeys.
“We will discuss with television stations on how to produce this visual,” he said, adding that the board would also encourage the reciting of the doa before a journey as well as promote civic mindedness among passengers and drivers.
He also said that recent urine tests on lorry and bus drivers showed that for every 30 bus and lorry drivers, three tested positive for drugs.
He said this was shocking as the estimate would mean that 25,000 of the 253,000 drivers of licensed lorries and buses were suspected drug users.
He added that the board would come up with guidelines for operators to check the background of applicants before employing them as drivers.
Raja Ahmad said that apart from the Puduraya, Bangunan Putra and Jalan Duta bus terminals, the Pasaraya terminal at Jalan Imbi would be used during the festive season.