Mishaps prove unfriendly bus halt design can be fatal

Women crushed to death at Tg Malim bus station Lorry trailer rams bus stop at federal highway

A bus driver was detained after the stage bus that he drove crushed a disembarking elderly woman passenger to death at Tanjung Malim bus station on 31 May 2010.  A witness was reported by Sinar Harian described the accident as gruesome, as the victim was spotted to be nervously supporting herself on the side of the bus before the bus suddenly sped off.

A trailer rammed a bus stop at the Federal Highway soon after it lost control on the LDP Bridge’s downgrade KL-bound ramp in the afternoon of 30 May 2010, injuring 4 bystanders, one seriously.

On 13 February 2009, a nasi lemak stall owner operating outside of the Puduraya station was crushed to death when an unmanned express bus belonging to  Konsortium Bas Ekspres accidentally moved from its stationary position.

TRANSIT Says:

It is disheartening to learn on these accidents when they are preventable in the first place. Although we can say that the deaths and injuries can be directly blamed to human errors (the bus drivers), we can’t safely say that the present guidelines and compliance standards on user friendly transit vehicles and facilities doesn’t have any effect in preventing such mishaps. TRANSIT hopes that SPAD will be able to push for basic procedures and design guidelines to be cascaded down and implemented in a concerted manner by all relevant agencies urgently before more lives are lost.

The design of any bus pick up and drop off facilities must be able to ensure that the driver and prospective passengers are clearly visible to each other. Low floor buses are definitely an advantage to the elderly and the weak, as the buses will not only make embarking or disembarking efforts a breeze, but they also provide a clear line of driver’s supervision (that is, if there is a tight safety procedure in place for the bus drivers to adhere to) to the disembarking passengers.

Likewise, unmanned transit vehicles must not be allowed to be left unsupervised on the road side, and more bus staging areas for both stage and express buses should be built so that bus drivers can safely leave their vehicles unmanned during off peaks.

Transmilenio Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Bogota,  Columbia utilizes exclusive bus lanes on the middle of the highways,  with platforms similar in height as the articulated BRT buses' floor

The design of bus halts on the Federal Highway and other major expressways within the Klang Valley need to be revisited, as the waiting commuters were exposed to noise, pollution and high speed crashes. Inadequate approach and exit paths further force the buses operating on highways to interweave abruptly against the rest of the high speed traffic.

A bus rapid transit system with elevated platforms on the median of the highway (such as the Transmilenio BRT system shown above with passenger waiting environment not dissimilar to rail transit platform, such as the stand below the yellow line rule) can be a better alternative compared to the current conventional stage bus operations stopping at tarmac-level halts (designed ground-up by an advertising agency with profits rather that commuter interests in mind).

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One thought on “Mishaps prove unfriendly bus halt design can be fatal”

  1. I agree with this, the current infestation of Ad-company sponsored bus halts is disheartening. Functional bus halts (albeit old) are replaced with newer halts with outwardly sloping transparent roof. The problem is, although they looks nice & colorful with ads, it does not serve its primary purpose well, which is to protect waiting passengers from the rain and the sun.

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