Bus drivers offered more rest time

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 what drivers want most are toilets within easy reach.

The Transport Department says drivers will get at least 20 minutes of rest in a six-hour duty, and time off between consecutive working days will be lengthened from 91/2 hours to 10 hours. 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.

A survey by a drivers' union found that toilets were too far away from terminuses, with drivers taking an average of 91/2 minutes to walk from a terminus to a toilet and back again.

Chung Kin-wah, vice-chairman of the Motor Transport Workers General Union, said a more practical way to improve drivers' working conditions was to build more toilets and rest areas at terminuses.

He said KMB would need an extra 500 buses and up to 1,000 more drivers if rest breaks were extended.

Chung said some drivers were also worried that if the rest time was extended, drivers would not be able to start the 6.30am shift, for which they are paid more.