Wednesday 19 March 2014

Better amenities soon for bus captains at interchanges, depots

By Khoo Fang Xuan, Channel NewsAsia, 17 Mar 2014

Bus captains may soon be able to enjoy better amenities at bus interchanges and depots.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo said the tripartite partners are working towards improving the conditions at these places.

According to the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU), a work group has recently been formed between the tripartite partners, and the union is hopeful that discussions will help improve bus drivers' working conditions.

The Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP) has put more buses on the road, enhancing commuters' travel experience.

With additional buses, more drivers are also needed. And ensuring their welfare is important to attract more into the profession.

Mrs Teo said: "The LTA (Land Transport Authority) is also working with the union as well as the public transport operators to improve the working conditions, for example at the bus interchanges, and also at the depots.

"The staff amenities can be improved, and in fact we have put in place measures to improve these amenities so that work conditions for the bus drivers and bus captains reach a level which they are more comfortable with."

The union believes improving the drivers' work environment can also help reduce stress.

Fang Chin Poh, General Secretary of the National Transport Workers' Union, said: "These facilities are quite important for our bus captains because when they reach the terminal or interchanges they only have 10 to 15 minutes to rest.

"If we can provide good facilities for them, for example, cool rest room, cool rest area, they can easily get their food (with) a canteen there.

"For Malaysian drivers, they ride their motorcycles to work. If there are sufficient parking lots for them, I think they will be happy to work in this industry."

Public transport operators have also introduced a progressive wage model to allow bus drivers to earn better salaries, with more ranks and broader salary ranges.

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