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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Are Double-decker Buses Safe on the Roads?

Are Double-decker Buses Safe on the Roads? | Bus operators have criticised the authorities for deeming double-decker buses unsafe, saying that they had encouraged the use of these vehicles in the first place. The Pan-Malaysian Bus Operators Association said the now defunct Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board had encouraged the use of double-deckers as a way to reduce operating costs.

“Now, they are saying these buses are unsafe and cannot be used on certain roads, which means the operators will have to bear losses,” association president Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali said yesterday.

It was reported that a study by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) had found double-deckers to be unsafe and unsuitable for long journeys, especially on winding roads. Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri had said that the build of the buses and their high centre of gravity made them suitable only for use in towns or on highways and not on winding roads and hilly areas.

He asked the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to review the routes for such buses to prevent accidents. “When they introduced double-deckers, they did not impose any restrictions on routes and told us that the buses were safe,” Mohamad Ashfar said, adding that the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and inspection body Puspakom had also approved the vehicles as safe.

SPAD chief operating officer Azhar Ahmad said the commission would liaise with JPJ and Miros to resolve the issue. “While considering the interests of bus operators, we have to also look at the safety of passengers,” he said. He added that SPAD would not rush to review the routes for double-deckers as they were already on the road and had been approved by the JPJ.

Miros director-general Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon clarified that the buses found on Malaysian roads were not “double-deckers” but “high-deckers”. “We do not have double-decker buses in the country,” he said, explaining that double-deckers were much higher than high-deckers. “Not all buses are suitable. Certain roads, in hilly areas for example, should not be used by any kind of bus,” Dr Wong said.

He added that Miros would publish the findings of the study on its webs soon. Meanwhile, SPAD will meet agencies such as the JPJ, Miros, the Transport Ministry and bus operators on the issue.

“We will look into the technical and safety aspects such as the Safety Health and Environment Code of Practice (SHE-COP) and international standard practices like the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe's (UNECE) R66 regulations before reaching a decision,” SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said in a statement yesterday.

Now, what you guys think of this double-decker buses issue? Feel free to share.

Source: The Star Online

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