Safer for bus drivers to be familiar with just one route

I read with concern Mr Soh Gim Chuan's comments on the reluctance of bus drivers to undertake multiple routes (called "interlining") - that they would rather resign and become jobless ("Bus drivers' inadaptability a concern"; last Friday).

Mr Soh implies that such a mindset has negative consequences for our competitiveness.

If bus drivers prefer to lose their jobs than be coaxed into driving multiple routes, they must have strong reasons for doing so.

There may have been accidents in the past involving bus drivers who were asked to drive more than one route.

It is, thus, best for bus companies to explore the issue more deeply.

Driving daily on the road as a vocation incurs risks, sometimes resulting in the loss of lives.

The penalty can be as severe as imprisonment for the drivers.

Many bus drivers are middle-aged and may not be as quick to react as younger drivers during an emergency.

In the light of this, they could be better suited to driving the same route every day.

Negotiating the same route every day will allow the driver to better look out for and react to unexpected situations.

Getting drivers to stick to one route would, therefore, enhance safety for other road users.

I do not agree that bus drivers' refusal to drive multiple routes has consequences for our competitiveness.

Bus companies' fundamental mission is to transport passengers safely from one point to another, without causing injury or death to passengers and other road users.

Clement Tan Teng Leng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2016, with the headline 'Safer for bus drivers to be familiar with just one route'. Print Edition | Subscribe