Fewer bus accidents if fares and salaries were higher: SPAD

Fewer bus accidents if fares and salaries were higher: SPAD
Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

SELAYANG: Bus drivers having to chase commissions is one reason why there have been many accidents, and this could be minimised with flexible fares, according to Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.

Speaking in the aftermath of the Johor bus crash on Christmas Eve that killed 14 people, including the driver and his daughter, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman said that frequently, bus accidents are caused by a chain of events.

Currently, 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.

"Therefore we need to allow and encourage bus operators to pay higher salaries," he said, however adding that not all operators paid low salaries.

Syed Hamid also noted that express bus operators are not government-owned.

"It's the private sector. If we control their fees 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 Tuesday after distributing aid to the Rohingya community here.

Express bus fares were last reviewed in 2009, while taxi fares saw an increase in 2015.

Syed Hamid added that increasing fares was merely one part of the solution, 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 that is a 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, and to help resolve safety issues.

"Personally, I would like for buses to have seatbelts and if possible in future, they should be installed with speed limiters to prevent speeding," he said.

14 on KL-Johor bus die in Christmas Eve crash

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    Burial of Nur Hazimah Binte Mustafa, 21, together with her mother Faridah Binte Tamron (not in picture), 63.

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    More than 100 relatives of three Singaporean women who died gathered at the Choa Chu Kang Muslim cemetery.

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    About 70 of their relatives, including Madam Faridah's son and another daughter, gathered under a scorching sun at around 1pm.

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    Top to bottom: Hamimah Binte Mammu, Faridah Binte Tamron, Nur Hazimah Binte Mustafa.

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    Sons and relatives of Mdm Hamimah Binte Mammu praying after burial.

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    Sons and relatives of Mdm Hamimah Binte Mammu praying after burial.

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    Three schoolmates of Nur Hazimah Binte Mustafa who were there to pray for their departed friend.

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    13 people including the bus driver were killed and 17 others injured when the express bus they were travelling in skidded and plunged off a 6.09m cliff in Muar, Johor on Dec 24, 2016.

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    Another victim was pronounced dead while receiving treatment at Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital (HPSF) in Muar.

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    The incident took place at Kampung Jayo, Jalan Kangkar-Senangah, Pagoh near Muar at around 4am.

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    Johor Fire and Rescue Department deputy director Mohd Yusof Mohd Gunnos said the bus was heading to Kuala Lumpur from Johor Baru.

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    He said 25 firemen from the Muar, Bukit Gambit and Yong Peng stations were deployed to the location after receiving the distress call at around 4am.

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    Mohd Yusof said initial investigation showed that the road surface was in good condition and it was not raining when the incident happened.

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    Family members of the victims at the Forensic Unit of Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital in Muar.

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    Family members of the bus accident victims waiting outside the ward of Sultanah Fatimah Specialist hospital in Muar at 8.51pm on Dec 24 2016.

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    The list of the dead victims at the Forensic Unit of Sultanah Fatimah Specialist hospital in Muar.

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    The list of the dead victims at the Forensic Unit of Sultanah Fatimah Specialist hospital in Muar.

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    The bodies of the bus driver and his child being loaded into the hearse.

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    The bodies of the bus driver and his child being loaded into the hearse.

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    Businessman Yusof Sabda, 54, cousin of Singaporean victim Ms Hamimah Mammu.

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    Mr Steven Chong, 52, a representative of the Goldstar Exprese bus company. He said his company would help the families with the costs of bringing back the body, as well as insurance claims, but could not yet confirm whether it would be providing any other compensation to the families.

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    Body of Ms Au Poi Kiew being loaded onto the hearse.

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    Relatives of Ms Au Poi Kiew loading her body onto the hearse.

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    Muhd Haikal Bin Syed, (right, walking out) 23, NSF, and Muhd Shamir Bin Syed, (wiping eye) 21, ITE student, both sons of Ms Hamimah Mammu after looking at the body of their mother.

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    Mr Yusof, cousin of Ms Hamimah Mammu, waving at the hearse after the body of Ms Hamimah was loaded onto it.

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    Relatives of Ms Hamimah Mammu hugging after the body was loaded onto the hearse.

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    Entrance of Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital in Muar.

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