Bus operators slam roadside checks

Bus operators slam roadside checks

Say 'costly' new rule will destroy business

Monday's launch of roadside roadworthiness checks for public transport vehicles was met with a protest from the Private Bus Development Association, which claimed the rule will destroy their business.

The association rallied at the Department of Land Transport on Monday to voice their opposition to the measure, which requires checks to be performed on public transport vehicles -- including those running non-regular services -- at roadside checkpoints every 90 kilometres of their journeys.

Witthaya Premjit, the association's president, called the proposed measure "time-consuming and costly".

"The checks could delay journeys by hours, particularly for tour buses running long-haul services," Mr Witthaya said.

The Transport Ministry said the rule will help to ascertain a vehicle's roadworthiness to ensure passengers' safety, and also protect drivers from fatigue during long drives.

The checkpoints, many of which are located at petrol stations, also monitor the vehicles' average speed to prevent speeding.

The funds required to keep the checkpoints up and running will be drawn from the National Road Safety Fund, and the checkpoints will be manned by DLT staff.

A total of 245 roadside checkpoints have been established nationwide.

Mr Witthaya on Monday dismissed the authorities' claim that the roadside checks will take no longer than 10 minutes, saying that 30 minutes is a more realistic estimate.

"If a vehicle has to spend 30 minutes at each checkpoint, a journey of 300km would be delayed by at least an hour and a half," he said.

"The measure is bound to disrupt tourists' itineraries," he said, adding the move would damage transport companies' businesses.

He suggested that a check be conducted every 300km instead of 90km.

Mr Witthaya also said the the association demanded that the rule be changed and called on the DLT to take practicality into consideration.

"If not, the association will decide on its next move," he said, without elaborating.

The group submitted its petition to Sunisa Anantakul, the DLT inspector, who promised to convey the group's demand to the department executives and the Transport Ministry.

She said authorities had passengers' safety in mind when they devised the rule.

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