Private bus drivers who violate traffic laws and conductors who fail to treat commuters politely, will be liable to cancellation of their permits issued, under a new points reduction system to be introduced by the National Transport Commission (NTC).
The proposal, already prepared by the NTC, will be submitted to Parliament for approval within a month, Private Transport Services Minister C.B. Ratnayake told the Sunday Times.
Under the scheme, the driver and conductor of a private bus are credited with 50 points each at the inception, with points being deducted according to the offences committed.
“Our aim is to improve the services provided by private bus drivers and conductors to improve the efficiency of the service,” Mr. Ratnayake said.
A driver found guilty of causing an accident under the influence of liquor, will be liable to forfeit all his 50 points, resulting in the permanent cancellation of his permit to drive a private bus. However, for other offences, there is a process of rehabilitation to regain points lost for committing offences.
Among the other reasons for reduction of points are, causing death or injury by driving an un-roadworthy bus where the driver loses 24 points. Reckless driving or causing an accident by reckless driving would result in a loss of 15 points. Failing to report an accident or causing an accident by negligent driving forfeits 10 points, while driving negligently forfeits 8 points.
Points will also be deducted for driving at excessive speed, as well as for driving at a slow speed inconveniencing other road users. Accordingly, a driver exceeding the speed limit by 25 kmph, will be liable to a loss of 12 points, speeding in excess of between 16 and 25 kmph results in a loss of 9 points, while exceeding the speed limit by 15 kmph, results in 6 points being forfeited.
Four points will be deducted if the driver remains at a bus halt longer than the prescribed time limit or drives at less than 10 kmph.
Conductors will forfeit 10 points each for offences such as being rude to passengers, overcharging, overloading, failure to display destination boards and respective fares, and the departure and arrival times, failing to issue tickets, allowing vendors to sell inside the bus and beggars to beg inside buses.
However there are further offences commission of which makes driver as well as conductor culpable.
NTC Chairman Roshan Gunawardena told the Sunday Times that if the 50 points are forfeited, a driver or conductor can regain points by undergoing a 3-day rehabilitation programme, but it would be restricted to 25 points.
However, the 25 points will be subject to a probationary period of one year, and if no offences are committed during that one year, all 50 points would be restored.
If more offences are committed during that one year period, he will have to continue with the remaining points.
Points reduction will be determined based on police records and NTC findings.
Mr. Gunawardena said that these measures are being taken to ensure that drivers and conductors abide by the regulations and provide an efficient service to the public.
He said that private bus drivers and conductors too would benefit from the scheme, as their owners will be able to determine their efficiency based on their performances. “We will also post information on good drivers and conductors on our website,” he added.
The NTC will also be issuing separate identity cards with barcode, for drivers and conductors, which will facilitate accessing past records including details of offences committed by the conductor or driver.