Hong Kong: Union blames excessive hours, shortage of qualified drivers and poor pay for bus crash that kills 19 passengers

Author: Danny Lee & Kimmy Chung, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Published on: 13 February 2018

"Hong Kong bus union blames officials for fatal crash", 11 Feb 2018

A bus union representative has blamed the Hong Kong government for ­Saturday’s fatal crash in Tai Po, saying the accident raised again a host of issues. Wong Yu-loi of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions cited excessive hours, a shortage of qualified drivers and poor pay as long-standing problems.

Wong said he was angry and disappointed that officials had failed to review guidelines and policy…“The government bears the responsibility to ensure the bus services operate in a reasonable and safe level...Only by amending the guidelines on bus captains, reducing working hours, increasing the basic salary, setting up payment guidelines to attract new blood and monitoring part-time drivers [can] the problem the industry facing be solved in the long-run.”

According to guidelines issued by the Transport Department, the maximum duty, including all rest times, of a bus driver in a working day should not exceed 14 hours, with a driving component not ­exceeding 11 hours…A 2016 poll found 97 per cent of bus drivers worked overtime and almost eight in 10 worked ­between 50 to 60 hours a week.

In the Tai Po bus crash, the [bus company] KMB said its driver involved in the accident showed “no signs” he was exhausted, adding, he had been worked for seven hours for the past four days and was on a four-hour shift on Saturday…

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