Following the recent spate of accidents involving long distance buses, with Monday’s incident involving an excursion bus in Cameron Highlands – where 27 people lost their lives – being exceptionally fresh in the memory, the Land Public Transport Commission (LPTC) has said that addressing the safety issue is a point of paramount significance.

In a statement, the LPTC – which was officially established in June following the passing of the Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat Act 2010 by Parliament in May this year – said that as the Government agency which will be taking over the regulation of land public transport including express, tour and charter buses, it viewed the issue of long distance bus safety very seriously and with great concern.

To underscore this concern, LPTC is making road safety a very high priority area in its list of concerns as it moves towards full operations next year. LPTC has begun discussions with bus operators and relevant government agencies with the view to resolve issues which are causing a compromise in safety within the industry.

The commission recently held a round table discussion on express and tour bus safety which was well attended by both express and tour bus operators, as well as relevant Government agencies. The session allowed all parties to identify several root causes of bus accidents and identify ways and parties to find ways to overcome them.

On LPTC’s part, the outcomes of these discussion sessions will be evaluated and, where relevant, LPTC will draw up policies, rules and regulations to ensure that safety standards of public transport services are maintained. Among the options being looked at closely is an enhancement of the implementation and enforcement of the Safety, Health and Environment Code of Practice (SHE COP) for bus operators, essentially a holistic approach to safety for the industry and covering all aspects from driver hiring policies to bus structure specifications.

What do you think – how best can the issue be addressed, and bus travel made a safer proposition for all?