12 people lost the lives when an express bus traveling from Malacca to Kuala Lumpur crashed into a guard rail near Simpang Empat, near Seremban.
For a long time, I have made it a point not to write any article on express buses. But this time around, I have finally decided to pen an article especially on express buses. This article will go on to provide a few recommendations to make travelling by express buses a safer journey.
First of all, let it be known that amongst the many modes of transport a person can make to travel back home for Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali or Christmas, traveling home by express buses must surely rank as the most dangerous. Therefore, readers are advised to opt for other means of transport, such as taking a flight home. It’s faster and definitely your chance or reaching home safely is higher.
You can also opt to travel by train. This mode of transport may be a bit slower and one has to book one’s ticket very much earlier. Traveling by train ranks amongst the safest means of transport to balik kampung. And of course, there’s the taxis. Taxis are costlier but they bring you right to your doorstep.
Those who have no alternative have to opt to travel home via express buses. Express bus tickets are priced moderately compared to other means of transport. However, do remember that traveling by express buses represents one of the most dangerous means of transport in Malaysia nowadays.
Let us now examine in detail why detail why express buses in Malaysia are involved in so many accidents. I lost a very close friend, a colleague in fact, a couple of years back. The friend in question was Mr. Wong B.S.
Mr. Wong was reported to have traveled by express bus with his wife back to Nibong Tebal to visit his parents. While coming home late one night, the bus in which Mr. Wong traveled stopped half way. Passengers were requested to change buses in a dark and secluded area.
A mishap unfortunately occurred. Mr. Wong fell down a slope and hurt himself. Unfortunately, Mr. Wong succumbed to his injuries and passed away.
Why do so many express buses in Malaysia seem to be involved in road accidents? There must be good reasons for the above to happen. Let’s examine this predicament in greater detail.
1) Construction of express buses are too flimsy to provide protection to passengers.
Most express buses are painted in beautiful colours and designs. They are very attractive without a doubt. However, express bus provides very little protection to passengers. They seem to break up into pieces when accidents occur.
Coach builders should be blamed for this flimsy body work. The body of buses should be built sturdier to give utmost protection to passengers upon accidents.
I suggest stronger aluminium and steel bars should be used to build sturdier bodywork to provide maximum protection to bus passengers. This will make the express bus much heavier, thereby causing these buses to be unable to travel fast.
Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, reiterated, “roof of buses involved in accidents would easily come off or were easily damaged when ever buses flipped over”. It is the coach manufacturer’s duty to build stronger and safer buses to ensure that passengers will not suffer serious injuries in case of an accident. Mohamad also said, “frames of buses should be able to withstand any impact from a collision.
2) Provide training to bus drivers to handle large buses.
Few companies provide training to its bus drivers. Even though some bus companies do provide in house training to its drivers, the fact is this policy is seldom practiced by most companies.
3) Employ the safest and best express bus drivers.
Only the best will do. Highly experienced bus express drivers should be employed. Like they say, “if you offer peanuts, you’ll get monkeys”.
Therefore, companies who intend to employ the best drivers around should be ready to pay drivers good and attractive salary. Frequent medical checkups should be done upon company bus drivers. This will ensure that only the healthy drivers are permitted to serve the company.
4) Puspakom inspection.
Currently Puspakom authorities conduct stringent tests on buses once in 6 months. This should be continued. If Puspakom intensify its test on commercial vehicles like buses, this will go on to improve the mechanical standard of buses used for long distance travel.
5) Workshop inspection.
Besides the Puspakom authorities inspection of buses currently, company’s own workshop should also conduct its own inspection up on its own buses from time to time.
Brakes, steering, brake lights and indicators should be checked regularly. Ideally, this inspection should be done once a week. This practice will ensure a company’s fleet of buses is in tip top condition always.