I am a frequent visitor to the Genting Highlands. If you like me fancy regularly going up to the cool resort, you would surely be aware that Genting has a fleet of new marooned coloured express buses.
The above, known as Go Genting express buses, ply from various locations in and around Kuala Lumpur, bringing sightseers both young and old, to the 6,666 meters hill resort. For your information, the Scania express buses, ferry passengers from KL Sentral, Pudu Sentral (formerly known as Pudu Raya), 1 Utama, Kajang as well as the LRT station at Putra Gombak. The above services provide efficient and cool rides to passengers up to the Cable Car station near Gohtong Jaya.
The road up Genting Hinghlands is both winding and hilly. Without a doubt, I must admit, bus drivers of the company are a safe and careful lot of dedicated people. But going up Genting Highlands and descending down it, especially during raining weather, can be extremely dangerous and treacherous indeed! As such, there is just so much drivers can do. And nothing more!
To ensure the safety of passengers at all times, passengers who travel in express buses, especially up and down Genting Highlands, should be belted up. Genting express buses all have seat belts. But sad to say, not many choose to use this important piece of cloth or rather the Seat Belt.
Permit me to unveil to you an accident which took place just not too long ago. I was descending down from the First World Bus Terminal. As it was already puasa or breaking fast time, the Malay driver that evening, was quite in a rush. He was driving unusually fast that particular day. I observed the driver was taking corners rather fast and furious as well.
Before proceeding on with this story, permit me to provide you with a little wee bit of advice regarding travelling in express buses, especially those going up hill and more importantly, those going downhill. Passengers should ideally sit in the middle section of the bus. In such positions or locations you can hold on to the seat that is infront of you. You will therefore not be subjected to the swaying and swinging movements, as the bus descends downhill. Get the advice?
As luck would have it, the express bus that I was travelling in down from the First World Hotel, I was sitting at the first seat near the entrance door.
As the bus shoved off, my co-passenger, who was on my left, began to install his seat belt. He then advised me to simultaneously install my safety belt too. His contention was, the driver would most probably be executing acute turns and corners as he manouveres downhill. And how right he was.
Luckily enough, I took my co-passenger’s advice. If not, I think I would most probably have been thrown out of my seat. And probably suffered injuries if thrown onto the floor of the bus. Can you imagine someone my age suffering from such injuries? It is hoped that from henceforth, passengers who embark on express buses should heed my advice. And do wear your seat belts that are provided. You actually have nothing to lose at all.
Talking about seat belts and express buses, are you aware that about a year ago, that is in 2011, the Malay Mail newspaper, reported that the Malaysian government will be implementing a law whereby it would make it compulsory for seat belts to be affixed to all express buses, beginning the year 2015!
This move is in line with the United Nations Economic Commission For Europe (UNECE) World Forum For Harmonization Of Motor Regulations (WP 29). For the transport sector, as such, all express buses will be made compulsory to have passenger seat belts installed in them when 2015 arrives.
The Malaysia Public Transport Directory, a body which is much concerned with bus expresses and its safety in this country, is of the opinion that the UN body’s suggestion above is indeed a very encouraging step. It should be implemented as early as possible, they insisted.
However, there are a few regulations which have to be followed. Regulations that have to follow are listed as below:-
R14- Safety Belt Anchorages
R16- Safety Belts
R18- Practices Against Unauthorised Use
R36 – Construction of Public Services Vehicles (Large Passenger Vehicles)
R66 – Strength of Super Structure (Large Passenger Vehicle)
R80 – Seat (Large Passenger Vehicle)
The Malaysian Public Transport Directory has put forward a suggestion. It says that the implementation of the different regulations should be done together to save operators costs. Operators can have time to purchase new vehicles that fulfill regulations.
R66 and R80 are actually related to R66, which can ensure that even when a bus is involved in a roll over, the structure be still be maintained and protect passengers. To make sure that this can be achieved, the seat structure has to be integrated with R66 and R80 standards.
The above article is a result of a research which I made on the use of seat belts for express buses in the year 2015. It is hoped that this enlightening news will be of use to you. It is hoped that all readers of this article would be anticipating the arrival of 2015 and the seat belt implementation.
This September 2012, the authorities have implemented the AES. Drivers and motorcyclists would surely wish to know, what in reality is AES. The above abbreviation stands for Automated Enforcement System.
In the above sophisticated system of surveillance, the authorities will no longer rely only on Road Transport Department (RTD) officers and the police to arrest traffic offenders, but instead will use more than 1000 cameras to capture those who break the law.
For readers’ reading consumption, Malaysian drivers and motorcyclists are notorious for committing offences such as:
i. Beating the traffic lights
iii. Changing lanes suddenly
iv. Overtaking on the left
v. Not stopping at zebra crossings for pedestrians
vi. Using mobile phones without hands-free set
Motorcyclists especially, are very fond of ignoring traffic lights. Without a doubt, some drivers also commit the above offence.
The AES infact was mooted as early as 2 years ago. The system has been postponed a few times before. According to the Road Transport Department, pictures recorded by the AES cameras will be large and clear. Most importantly, the above pictures will be able to indicate Time, Date and the Location where a particular offence took place. These are the requirements needed by the courts.
Prior to the AES being implemented, the system was reported to have undergone rigid tests. Putrajaya was one of the locations where the authorities tested its cameras. A total of more than 10 locations in Putrajaya underwent stringent tests recently.
Out of the approximately 1000 or more cameras which will be used under the AES, there will be 566 to catch speeding. A total of 265 cameras are to be affixed on to traffic lights. At places where there are inadequate infrastructures to install the cameras, mobile cameras will be used instead.
The public may wish to know, who is responsible for setting up the AES which is scheduled to be launched soon all across the country.
The authorities, that is the government, or rather the Road Transport Authorities and the police, will obviously not have the expertise and know how to set up the system.
The authorities, it is said, have outsourced or privatized it out to 2 companies. These 2 companies are responsible for the maintenance of the system for the next 5 years. What happens after the 5 year duration is over is yet to be decided.
Sources say, the 2 private companies will not be paid any payment. Sources also reiterated, the said companies will be given a cut from the summons issued. However, the percentage of the cut is yet to be determined.
Implementing of the AES, I feel it should be applauded. The authorities especially the Road Transport Department has done the correct thing. The AES has been a long time coming.
But the problem that remains is, will the authorities now be able to take rigid and stringent measures to enforce the system. Unless a strict execution of implementation is imposed on those who are caught by the surveillance cameras is followed, those guilty will not bother to pay up their summonses. The AES will then go up in smokes.
What is suggested is offenders and those found guilty, should amongst other things have:
i. Their driving licenses suspended immediately
ii. Their road taxes should be withdrawn
iii. All other transactions with the RTD, like inspections and transfers be suspended
iv. All practical tests should likewise be also be suspended as well
v. Those who fail to pay up their summonses should be disallowed to sit for their Highway Code as well
Under Section 81 of the Road Transport Ordinance (RTO), there exists a law to prohibit illegal motor racing or merempit motor. Why then does the above scourge still remain rampant in our society today? The answer is simple. If all boils down to the authorities being unable to enforce the law successfully.
The latest implementation of the AES, as I said earlier, is good. A lot of money and efforts have been put into it. Let’s hope that it doesn’t suffer the same fate of other projects launched earlier by the authorities. The government and the relevant authorities, the JPJ, the police and others responsible for road safety, should make sure that the system works.
Promulgating and passing laws is one thing. To be able to execute the laws passed, is another. Whatever the consequences of the AES maybe, Malaysian drivers and motorcyclists are reminded, your days are numbered. Drive carefully and obey all traffic rules and regulations.
The transport sector in our country seems to face quite a lot of problems. We have all heard about taxis and the problems they pose to both the public and foreigners who visit our country.
The school bus dilemma which many parents confront, year in and year out, is nothing new. Every year, before the new semester begins, school bus operators are certain to demand for an increase in their fares. The authorities, on the other hand, has time again, threatened the school bus or bas sekolah operators, their intention to replace 30 year old school buses with new vehicles. This has led to much hue and cry from bus operators themselves.
The only bus service operators who seem to be providing quite a good transport service in Malaysia to the public, happens to be the factory buses or the bas kilang operators. They appear to be doing a reasonably good job for the time being.
Recently a few bus companies have approached the authorities, that is, the government for assistance. The bus companies reiterate, that they are running at a loss. Unless the authorities step in to assist them, some bus companies have announced they will have to suspend their services to the public.
If this happens, it’s the public that will suffer. Bus transport services are extremely important, especially to the poorer strata of our society. Because of it, the Federal Government has agreed to launch a plan to assist bus transport companies out of their woes.
Besides financial problems faced by most bus transport companies in our country, the more serious problem faced by the above companies must surely be the problem of accidents involving tour and express buses.
The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research or MIROS, has recently come up with a decision which the public has long awaited for MIROS says it has finally found that double-decker buses are unsafe and unsuitable for long journeys, and especially on winding roads such as Cameron Highlands, Genting Highlands and Fraser’s Hill for example.
Why has MIROS reached such a major decision?
Amongst the reasons why the authorities insist that double-decker buses are unsuitable are:
i. The construction of buses could affect its stability and as a result, pose a high risk.
ii. MIROS also is of the opinion, that double-decker buses were found to be suitable to be used within town areas or highways, and not on winding roads or hilly areas. Good examples are in Great Britain and Hong Kong, for example, where most double-decker buses are mostly used in city and town areas only
iii. As a result, the use of double-decker buses in mountainous regions with steep slopes, like in Sabah, Sarawak and areas like the Cameron Highlands, are most unsuitable. The example of how a group of visitors from Brunei had their bus express crashed into a raintree, killing 7 passengers, should be a good lesson to our authorities regarding the suitability of double-deckers in the future.
Regarding the incident, Malaysian Puspakom officials, are currently in the process of investigations on the 44 seater bus, to as certain what caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle along KM9 Tamparuli-Ranau trunk road.
To sum up the unsuitability of the double-decker bus for long journeys and hilly, winding roads, according to the study of physics, double-decker buses have a high centre of gravity and therefore are not suitable for use in such dangerous areas. They are said to easily topple over.
Due to the latest revelation by MIROS or the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety research, the Deputy Transport Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri, has finally called upon SPAD or the Land Public Transport Commission and the CVLB or Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board, to review the routes for double-decker buses. Both SPAD and CVLB are the authorities that are responsible for issuing bus permits’ usage in our country.
For readers’ information, the use of double-decker buses needs approval for safety inspections by the Road Transport Department or JPJ’s automotive engineering division, as well as its computerized vehicle inspection centre or Puspakom. Meanwhile, the Deputy Transport Minister also revealed that there were a total of 6,872 road fatalities that were reported last year. A total of 1% involved bus accidents.
I earnestly hope that a concrete decision on the use of double-decker buses on long journeys, hilly and winding roads, will be made by our authorities in the very near future. Whatever the decision of the authorities may be, MIROS call will definitely not go unchallenged. Bus operators and especially the Pan Malaysian Bus Operators, will most likely be putting up a protest against it.