Accreditation cards for express bus drivers will keep parties accountable, says group

Prioritising safety: Cards will curb unlicensed and inexperienced drivers says an interest group. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

PETALING JAYA: If passengers are to have smooth and safe rides, get express bus drivers accredited and clamp down on bad practices committed by irresponsible bus operators, says the Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association.

It said such a move would ensure the safety of other road users, too.

Association president Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali told The Star that accreditation cards could hold the drivers as well as bus operators accountable should any complaint or untoward incidents occur.

“The driver cards will provide passengers with the identification of who would be responsible for their journey,” he said, adding that the card should be displayed prominently for the passengers even before they board the bus.

“Passengers will be assured of their safety and comfort if the drivers are certified by the relevant transport agencies.

“And they have an official ID of the drivers if they have to lodge a complaint for reckless driving or any other traffic offences,” Mohamad Ashfar said.

Another key point is that it would help curb unlicensed or inexperienced drivers on the roads, he said.

“Applying the drivers cards would eliminate bad practices, such as rogue operators hiring freelance bus drivers who are rarely on the job,” he added.

With such cards, it would also be easier to identify the drivers and hold them accountable should any untoward incident happen during their work shift, he said.

Apart from that, Mohamad Ashfar said the drivers card would resolve the conflict of unpaid traffic summonses between the drivers and the bus operators.

Express buses stop at TBS due to CMCO—LOW BOON TAT/ The Star.

“The drivers also need to obtain a letter from the company they intend to leave and from the firm they intend to work with next,” he added.

Approval from the Land Public Transport Commission (APAD) is a necessity, too.

“If there are any traffic summonses, the driver must resolve the fines first. Only then will APAD grant permission for the driver to move to another express bus company,” Mohamad Ashfar said.

In this way, the issue of outstanding summonses would not arise in the future, he added.

Mohamad Ashfar said the suggestion of accreditation cards for drivers was made to the government via the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (LPKP) in 2009.

It was approved and turned into a pilot project in 2017 but abruptly ended when SPAD was dissolved in 2018 and rebranded as APAD.

Last November, a meeting was held between Transport Minister Anthony Loke and the bus operators’ association.

“The response was good,” said Mohamad Ashfar.

When asked about it in an unrelated event, Loke said: “We will study it. Give us time. We know what they want, we have considered it.”

An APAD representative told The Star that it only issued taxi and ehailing drivers with accreditation cards as stipulated under APAD.

Public service vehicles include taxi licences, rental cars, limousines and ehailing vehicles.
Autos News