Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Errant bus operators, drivers will face RM300 fine: CVLB


Passengers on minibuses operating between the City and its outskirts are not happy with the services, citing the overcrowding and loud music on the buses as well as the drivers’ reckless driving. They also say the buses sometimes stop at unnecessary locations to pick up more passengers while the conductors stand by the door while the bus is moving. To find out more, this reporter boarded some of these minibuses plying the routes from the City to Penampang, Sepanggar, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Wisma Persekutuan, 1 Borneo, Indah Permai, Kepayan and Luyang. Most buses to 1 Borneo, Sepanggar, Indah Permai, Wisma Persekutuan and along Jalan Sulaman were found to be speeding, overcrowded and with loud music being played. Several passengers asked why they still took these buses, gave the same reply: “We have no choice.” When confronted about these errant practices, a bus conductor on the Sepanggar-Kota Kinabalu route retorted: “Why? Want to complain? Go ahead.” A bus driver who stopped in front of Wisma Persekutuan (not a designated bus stop) to pick up more passengers did not bother to respond when asked why he did not follow the regulations, while a conducter on a Penampang-bound bus was seen standing at the door while the bus was moving. There were no such problems with the buses to Kepayan and Luyang. It is learnt that the majority of the bus operators on these routes are locals. At Kampung Air (in front of the City Hall), buses seemed to be always congested especially after 8.3Opm. Several passengers said they took these buses due to the low fare of RM 1 and after hearing the conductor announcing it was the last trip. One passenger said he was on an overcrowded bus once when there was a loud sound due to one of tyres bursting. The bus driver did not bother to change the tyre and moved on to its destination of Indah Permai. “It was scary. I remember the bus I was in had an accident on Jalan Sulaman. The driver just said we needed to get down and take another bus without refunding our fares,” he said. Most of the bus operators in the City are foreigners who are ignorant of the law or did not bother to follow it or did not have a respect for our law, said a representative of a non-governmental organisation. Noor Alam Khan Bin A. Wahid Khan, Director for the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) at Wisma Kuwasa, told The Borneo Post: “Any member of the public who is not satisfied with the service of the bus operators may lodge a complaint at my office but they need to give the destination, time, bus registration number and name of the operator, which is usually printed on the door of the bus. “We will then investigate the complaint.” Noor Alam said such buses are not allowed to carry more than the permitted number of passengers, to play loud music or to speed, but these things are hard to find out unless members of the public make them known to CVLB. “We need the consumers’ cooperation and if we receive a formal complaint, we will make the necessary investigation, including sending a notice to the bus operator. “If we have proof that they committed the offence, then the necessary action will be taken including imposing a compound of between RM 150 to RM300 on both the bus owner and driver,” he said, adding the public may complain by e-mail to him at alam@meed.gov.my On another matter, Noor Alam said although the 30 percent surcharge for fares on express buses is only applicable between Sept 15 to Oct 15 in Peninsular Malaysia, the authorities have allowed minibus fares for routes between the City and its outskirts to increase by RMO.50 after an appeal by the association of bus operators here. Asked why the surcharge on express buses has been maintained even after Oct 15, he said: “Due to the fact that the bus services are getting better, it was decided to extend it, but for Sabah and Sarawak, we are expecting a new fare.” He pointed out that in Peninsular Malaysia, the number of accident cases decreased after the surcharge was implemented. Noor Alam said CVLB plans to conduct a course for bus operators here similar to the successful one it conducted in 2006. On bus drivers’ alleged drug use, he said the situation is under control. To another question on the need for an alternative transportation system, he said: “I think we need to find out its suitability and the cost as well as the routes covered.”