Bus operators against 2nd driver rule to get hearing

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BENTONG: The government is prepared to hear the objections of express bus operators against the rule to have a second bus driver for journeys more than four hours or 300 km long.

But Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai stressed that any challenge to the rule should be accompanied by a proposal to ensure the safety of passengers and other road users.

Liow was commenting on the objection by Peninsular Malaysia Bus Drivers Association chairman Sa’adan Man, who claimed the ruling was a problem because there is a shortage of express bus drivers.

The objection was made after Liow announced that express bus companies would face a RM200 fine, apart from risking their permit for failing to comply with the ruling.

Today Liow said: “We do not want them to only object. I must stress the decision to have a second bus driver by the Land Public Transport Commission and the ministry is a standard practice in many countries.”

“Drivers on long-distance trips should be alternated for rest, as fatigue can cause them to lose focus,” he told reporters after launching the Visit Pahang Year 2017 exhibition at the Bentong toll plaza here today.

Liow added that the ministry was also prepared to overcome the lack of express bus drivers through courses for new drivers to attract the younger generation into the field.

“The course will be implemented with the cooperation of the Human Resource Ministry as express bus drivers need professional training on technical aspects.

“Anybody can apply for the course. The course fee will not be too high and they can apply for training funds under the ministry involved,” he said.

Liow added that the ministry was proposing to upgrade the existing specialised training course for public drivers, including bus and lorry drivers to ensure they adhered to safety rules.