KUALA LUMPUR: Bus operators could soon be subjected to the Safety Star Grading (SSG) programme to improve their services, says the Transport Minister.
Anthony Loke said the programme was being carried out on voluntary basis now, adding that it has been effective in providing a sense of confidence to the public.
He said if the programme was made mandatory and services improved, bus operators could use this as a basis to ask for fare hikes.
“This programme is good because it gives confidence to the public. More stars mean better services, safety and efficiency,’’ he told reporters after visiting the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) in Kajang yesterday.
Loke said to date, only 20 bus operators participated in the programme which Miros introduced in 2013.
The SSG programme accords a star-rating based on the level of safety compliance by bus operators and through the programme, public would know the safety level of operators.
Loke said over 36,000 permits had been issued for various bus operations.
“As the programme is conducted on a voluntary basis, the low number of participants is not surprising.
“If we can make it compulsory, as we are seriously considering, it could give a sense of competition for bus operators to improve their services and safety standards.
“When their services are good and the public are satisfied with it, the operators may have a good argument to ask for a fare hike,” he said.
On another matter, Loke said the Recommendation Review Panel (RRP) had been given three months to table an interim report on the progress achieved on the 51 recommendations which followed the Genting Highlands bus crash in 2013 which killed 37 people.
“The interim report will be made public so that we all will know what action has been taken. “We are not going to waste time researching or suggesting because there is already a complete report and recommendations. It is time for us to act,” he said.
The panel held its first meeting on June 5 last year on the day it was set-up, and tabled its audit report on Dec 19.
The 11-member panel included Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kasim and Miros chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye as co-chairmen and Miros director-general Dr Siti Zaharah Ishak as secretary.
Loke also said the ruling on car child seats might not be enforced next year, adding that this decision was made by the previous administration.
“The ministry needs to review the ruling to determine its practicality,” he added.
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