Op­er­a­tors ex­ceed ca­pac­ity to cover cost

New Straits Times - - News -

En­sur­ing school bus driv­ers in the coun­try run their ve­hi­cles by the book is by no means an easy task.

How­ever, Fed­er­a­tion of Malaysian School Bus Op­er­a­tors As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Amali Mu­nif Rah­mat as­sured that they tried their best to en­sure the safety of stu­dents.

Amali said the driv­ers would con­stantly be re­minded to ad­vise stu­dents to fas­ten their seat belts while the ve­hi­cle was on the move, but not all would lis­ten.

“So, ways to pro­tect these young pas­sen­gers in­clude driv­ing within speed limit and en­sur­ing the door is closed all the time.

“About 18,000 school driv­ers na­tion­wide are well-trained and law-abid­ing.

“We rarely hear road ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing school buses,” he told the

Amali said only two per cent of road ac­ci­dents in­volved school buses with an av­er­age of one death re­ported in five years.

Min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter ’s Depart­ment Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said there were nine ac­ci­dent cases in­volv­ing school buses in 2014, two in 2015 and none last year.

“I hope there will be no ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing school buses this year,” she said.

On the rec­om­men­da­tion by the Na­tional Par­ent-Teacher As­so­ci­a­tion to have stu­dents be seated while the bus was on the move, Amali said it de­pended on the bus op­er­a­tors.

For ex­am­ple, he said, the school bus fare for in­ter­na­tional school stu­dents was about RM800 per month for one stu­dent.

“These op­er­a­tors have the bud­get to equip their buses with global po­si­tion­ing sys­tems. Some even have closed­cir­cuit tele­vi­sions where the par­ents can mon­i­tor the move­ment of the bus on­line.

“But, the monthly fees for pub­lic school buses are only be­tween RM70 and RM80 per per­son.

“We have to get ex­tra stu­dents and ex­ceed the ca­pac­ity to cover the cost, so we have no choice but to let them stand in the buses.”

Nev­er­the­less, he said, they al­ways tried to en­sure no stu­dents stood by the door.

“When the bus is on the move, the door re­mains close at all times. We also only travel within a small ra­dius.”

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