Thousands at risk by using illegal school vans

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 15 Jan 2015

JOHOR BARU: Thousands of students nationwide are taking a risk by using illegal school vans to go to school, the Federation of Malaysian School Bus Operators Associations has warned.

Its secretary-general Md Saad Mohamad claimed no action has been taken over the problem that has been going on for years.

He said operators of illegal school vans did not have any permit from the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and were not insured to ferry passengers.

“Furthermore, they are charging much higher fares than our association members, between RM100 and RM160 per student per month, but parents have no qualms paying them,” Md Saad told The Star.

He said parents were willing to pay higher fares because the illegal operators would fetch their children from home much later than a licensed operator would and send them back earlier.

Md Saad said most of the families using the services of these illegal operators were from the middle class with a household monthly income that was above RM6,000.

He estimated the number of these illegal school vans in urban areas nationwide to be in the thousands.

He said Sabah and Sarawak had the highest number of such operators, who normally used 4WD vehicles or trucks due to the poor road conditions in the rural areas.

Md Saad said feedback from association members showed that most of the illegal operators claimed they were engaged by parents in their neighbourhood to chauffeur the children.

“In the event of an accident, the students will not be covered by insurance and no party will be deemed liable,” he said.

Schoolchildren ferried by legal school buses are covered for up to RM100,000 each under the School Bus Insurance Scheme.

It offers insurance protection for all children using school buses registered with SPAD in the peninsula and the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board in Sabah and Sarawak.

It covers death (RM100,000), permanent disability (up to RM100,000), medical expenses (up to RM3,000), hospital benefits (RM100 a day for up to 30 days) and death-related expenses (RM2,500).

Md Saad urged SPAD and the Road Transport Department to beef up operations to wipe out illegal school vans and not to wait for a tragedy to happen before acting.

He also hoped parent-teacher associations would educate parents and teachers on the dangers and risks of using the illegal service.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for SPAD said the commission had been monitoring illegal school van services nationwide since 2012 and some of the vehicles had been impounded.

“We also advised them to register with us so we that can legalise their operations,” he said.

Related story:

Association: Cost of vehicle maintenance has shot up by 100% 

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