SELAYANG: Bus drivers “chasing” commissions is one reason why there have been many accidents, and the problem can be minimised with flexible fares, said Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.
The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman said bus drivers get a commission based on the number of trips they make.
“Their basic pay is low and often not satisfactory. Their commission depends on the (number of) trips they make, so that forces (drivers) to chase trips.
“We need to allow and encourage bus operators to pay higher salaries,” he said.
Speaking to reporters yesterday after distributing aid to the Rohingya community here, Syed Hamid said, however, express bus companies were not government-owned.
“If we control their fares and make them increase salaries, I think they will close shop. They can’t afford that.
“Which is why I think we should allow more flexible fares.
“When taxis and others increase their fares, they (express buses) are not allowed to increase theirs,” he said.
Express bus fares were last reviewed in 2009, while taxi fares saw an increase in 2015.
Syed Hamid said raising fares was just one of the solutions, as there were other factors that also needed to be addressed.
“We are also short of drivers and if one company fires a driver for bad behaviour, that driver can always go to another operator – and there lies the problem,” he said.
Syed Hamid urged other bodies like the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) and the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to work with SPAD and the Transport Ministry to investigate the Johor bus crash on Christmas Eve and to help resolve safety issues.
“Personally, I would like for buses to have seatbelts and if possible, they should be installed with speed limiters to prevent speeding,” he said.