Bureau may intervene in bus drivers' rostering row

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 September, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 September, 2004, 12:00am
 

Transport officials may draw up guidelines for bus drivers after complaints that their work schedules are harsh and unfair.


The Environment, Transport and Works Bureau said that while a dispute with bus drivers was an internal affair of New World First Bus, it was considering drafting a rostering guideline.


At a press conference on Wednesday, bus drivers complained they were forced to work on three or four different routes per day, they did not receive sufficient rest between trips and their rosters were frequently changed.


'Asking bus drivers to drive different routes on the same day puts them under a lot of pressure,' Motor Transport Workers General Union manager Chu Pun-din said yesterday.


He told the radio programme Teacup in a Storm that drivers who suffered work-related stress were more prone to accidents and mistakes.


'It is very easy to make wrong stops, or forget stops. It causes inconvenience to the passengers,' he said.


Mr Chu also said that the timing of breaks was 'absurd'' and could affect drivers' health.


Drivers could be expected to take lunch breaks at 9am or 4pm, and may not have time for dinner until after 11pm, he said.


A spokesman for New World First Bus said its drivers had agreed during training to work on different routes, while each had at least 30 minutes of rest for every six hours worked.


Mealtimes were scheduled to optimise the flexibility of the company's operations and were in line with Transport Department guidelines, the spokesman said.


Bus companies have extended the $1 holiday concession scheme for senior citizens to the end of the year, except on racecourse routes.


The 10 per cent discount for seniors on routes with fares of $15 or more, and 5 per cent on fares from $10 to $14.90 would also remain.


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