Bus union demands equal treatment

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 June, 2010, 12:00am

The government has proposed giving bus drivers more rest time and improving amenities at terminuses, but a union says it is not enough.

The Transport Department says drivers will get at least 20 minutes of rest in a six-hour duty. Meal time will be extended for all drivers to 45 minutes next year, and to an hour in 2012. This will give bus companies time to recruit new drivers and reschedule duties.

But Kwok Wai-kwong, chairman of the Kowloon Motor Bus Staff Union, said the proposal was new wine in an old bottle because CityBus and New World First Bus had been providing more than 20 minutes of rest time for years.

He demanded an hour's meal time, 30 minutes' continuous rest, and a five-minute break between journeys in a six-hour duty for KMB's 8,000 drivers. This would be on a par with the other two companies.

Kwok said it was crucial that drivers were given enough rest to ensure safety. He said the union had been demanding the same arrangements for 21 years and was disappointed by the department's response.

The Legislative Council's transport panel will discuss the issue on Monday.