Thursday March 30, 2006
Rivalry ‘caused inefficiency’
By SIOW YUEN CHING
PENANGITES have complained of inefficient public bus services and rickety old buses for many years. They say the drivers are rude and there are no proper route schedules.
According to northern region Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) chairman Shah Headan Ayoob Shah, these problems came about when mini buses started operations in Penang about 10 years ago.
“There was a proper public bus system before then and there were not many complaints about the stage buses.
“The arrival of mini buses resulted in overlapping of services and this caused fierce competition,” he said.
Bus operators began to compete with one another on lucrative routes and neglected their social responsibility to service “not so profitable” routes, Shah Headan said.
Bus drivers are not keeping to the schedule and designated bus routes because they want to get more profits.
Recently, Citizens for Public Transport (Cepat) Coalition raised concerns over “ghost bus stops” which misled commuters into waiting for buses on discontinued routes.
Shah Headan said there was also lack of enforcement from relevant authorities.
“Previously, the Road Tran-sport Department, CVLB and traffic police would deploy their own teams of enforcement officers to check on these bus operators.”
However, under the restructured public bus system to be implemented on Saturday, CVLB has set up an integrated enforcement squad comprising officers from Penang Municipal Council, the Road Transport Department, CVLB and traffic police.