Malaysia's transport minister leads spot checks on express buses

The spot check led by Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai came in the wake of collisions involving public vehicles.

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Long trips with a lone driver, worn tyres and carrying forbidden items were some of the offences by express bus companies discovered during a spot check at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan here.

The spot check on Saturday (Dec 31), which was led by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, came in the wake of collisions of late involving public vehicles.

One of the buses, which was scheduled to head to Singapore, was discovered not to have a co-driver.

Liow said a compound had been issued to the bus company, adding that the driver would not be allowed to begin the journey until the company assigned a second driver to join him.

"Express buses with a journey that exceed 300km must have two drivers," he said.

Liow said having two drivers on a long journey was important as seen in the Christmas Eve accident in Johor which claimed 14 lives. The lone bus driver was also killed in the tragedy.

"According to his record, the driver had driven from Penang to Johor Baru, then back to Kuala Lumpur," he said, adding that this was a serious violation of the law.

The spot check also found a double-decker bus, which was scheduled to go up north, carrying three motorcycles in the baggage compartment.

"This is wrong. Motorcycles are not allowed on a bus. We asked the driver to remove them," he said, adding that a compound was issued to the company for this offence.

Liow emphasised that the safety of passengers was of paramount importance.

He warned drivers that their Public Service Vehicle licence would be revoked for a month if they were found speeding or using the cellphone while driving.

Liow said 4,000 summonses were issued during an operation from Dec 24 to 26 after the enforcement team checked 12,600 buses on the road.