JOHOR BARU • Bus operators in Johor want the Malaysian government to help address a critical shortage of public bus drivers in the state by offering incentives similar to those enjoyed by drivers in the logistics sector.
President of the Johor Bus Operators Association, Datuk Suchdav Jotisroop, said there is currently a shortage of about 1,500 express and city bus drivers.
He said the problem started four years ago with a shortage of 400 bus drivers, and the situation has now worsened.
In November last year, the Transport Ministry launched an initiative called the MyLesen Goods Driving Licence (GDL) to address the shortage of truck drivers.
Those who sign up pay only RM1,655 (S$538), almost RM1,000 less than the normal fee, to attend a course to get a Class E GDL.
Two months ago, Mr Suchdav appealed for the MyLesen programme, under the Department of Road Transport, to be extended to Class E Public Service Vehicles (PSV).
He pointed out that the stronger Singapore currency is driving Malaysian bus drivers to work across the Causeway, leaving only ageing drivers in Johor.
What a bus driver can make in Johor a month, about S$815.
Shortfall in express and city bus drivers in the state.
"The younger generation and university graduates refuse to enter this industry because of the long hours and perception that it does not pay well," he said on Tuesday.
He pointed out that there are about 85 bus companies operating in the state, with their drivers mostly aged between 40 and 70 years old.
Mr Suchdav said a bus driver can make about RM2,500 a month, adding that this is a reasonable amount, especially for those who are unemployed.
He said a PSV licence costs between RM2,000 and RM3,000 and takes up to three months to obtain.
"We do not want a scenario where we are too pressed for bus drivers and they have no choice but to take on more trips," he said, adding that this can be dangerous to passengers and other road users.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK