When is SPAD going to use its teeth?

TRANSIT took note of two articles in which SPAD Chair Syed Hamid Albar has made it clear that SPAD is not an agency to be trifled with.

In the first article, Syed Hamid expresses a clear view that public transport operators who do not re-register before September 30 will no longer have licenses (permits?).

In the second article, Syed Hamid is quoted talking about plans to remove unsafe buses from Malaysian roads.

What we see here is an agency that started slowly, was turned around and confused by the government, but has managed to take some steps forward and meet some of the public’s expectations. The key challenge now is to continue improving on public transport standards, at an improved pace.

The public are tired of CVLB inaction, and the delays and they will expect SPAD to set a strong pace on improvements starting now. But the big question is whether or not SPAD is ready to use their ‘teeth’ or if they are just baring them for show.

Vehicle owners show little urgency (NST)

20 July 2011

PUTRAJAYA: Only 24 per cent out of 80,000 commercial vehicle owners had re-registered their licences, said Land Public Transport Commission chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.

“I am stressing the importance of the re-registration process because come Sept 30, they will not have their licences any more,” he told reporters at a press conference here after meeting commercial vehicle operators yesterday.

Syed Hamid said the re-registration process was to help the commission update its information and records on vehicle owners.

“The exercise is also meant to ‘clean up’ the records and it is hoped that through this, we will be able to improve on the land public transport system in this country.”

He also said roadshows on the importance of the re-registration of licences were being conducted in every state.

On another matter, he said the applications for temporary change in licence class for the festive season would start from Aug 1 till Aug 15. Syed Hamid said the period for temporary licence change would start a week before Hari Raya Puasa and eight days after the festival.

TRANSIT Says:

We know that SPAD has got some kind of plan to restructure public transport in Malaysia, and we understand that the first thing they have to do is gather information. That means that they have to develop a database, and of course that database has to be a completely new one (because either the CVLB database was in totally poor shape, or because a new database is a way for SPAD to assert itself).

The irony is that SPAD was created from the Department of Railways and the CVLB – and we do not exactly know how many current SPAD employees were formerly members of the CVLB. After all, if the problems were really with the CVLB, how do we know that SPAD did not important some bad CVLB “apples” during this transition process?

Clamp on ‘unsafe’ buses (The Star)
By P. ARUNA
22 July 2011

PETALING JAYA: The Land Transport Commission (SPAD) has pledged to intensify enforcement on buses operating without undergoing mandatory safety inspections.

Its chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the commission would work with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and the police to ensure that buses which had not been by approved by Puspakom were kept off the road.

“SPAD can terminate the licence of operators who use buses which have either failed or skipped the safety inspections,” he said here.

He said operators risked not getting their licence renewed if SPAD received information from the JPJ and Puspakom that their vehicles had skipped mandatory inspections.

It was reported yesterday that thousands of “unsafe” buses were believed to be on the road, with data from Puspakom showing that 4,111 commercial buses were not brought in for inspections last year.

The vehicles, which include express, tour and school buses, had not undergone mandatory inspections which are supposed to be done once every six months to ensure their tyres and brakes are roadworthy.

Statistics from JPJ also showed that 649 buses had been blacklisted last year for failing three consecutive Puspakom inspections.

“The only way to catch these buses is through enforcement on the road,” Syed Hamid said.

He said SPAD would access JPJ’s database to facilitate stricter enforcement.

However, Road Safety Department director-general Suret Singh questioned the possibility of buses which had failed Puspakom inspections still being on the road.

He said such buses would not be able to renew their road tax.

TRANSIT Says:

We have faith that SPAD is going to work to ensure that unsafe buses are pushed off the roads. We just do not know how long it will take and how many more Malaysians will be killed or injured during that process.

Sure, change is hard, but we have to recognize that change is necessary in the public transport industry. We have a bloated bureaucracy and poor enforcement & maintenance … and many operators who take advantage of any weakness they can find, combined with a public that fails to act in their own best interest.

But the time for acceptance is gone … public transport users need to step up and report as much information as they can to SPAD and also, demand better quality from the bus companies. If that means that we have to deal with attempts at intimidation, then so be it. After all, intimidation is the last gasp of the weak and soon to be departed.

But once again the message from SPAD has to be clear and undeniable. We do not need threats & warnings … we need a clear plan and successful action to be taken.

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