Thu, Dec 13, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Ministry touts a new tour bus safety system

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Following two tour bus crashes in recent days that killed 13 people and injured dozens, Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) yesterday said the ministry would implement multiple indicators to evaluate the safety of tour buses around the nation, adding that simply looking at the age of a vehicle was “unscientific.”

Mao made the comments at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee.

A tour bus accident on Sunday in Jianshi Township (尖石), Hsinchu County, killed 13 people from New Taipei City (新北市) and injured 10. Less than 24 hours later, 16 people sustained non-life-threatening injuries in a tour bus accident at Alishan in Chiayi County, once again drawing attention to the safety of tour coaches.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said the government requires that tour buses operating in certain tourist areas have to be less than five years old.

Yeh said to meet the requirement, some tour bus operators had either bought assembled tour buses or purchased tour buses together with other companies to save on high bus turnover costs.

DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said he did not oppose the idea of lifting the restriction on buses’ age.

Mile Chen (陳茂南), deputy director general of the Directorate-General of Highways, said that the directorate has planned a rating system for tour buses to be implemented by May next year.

Mao added that the rating system would help vehicle registration officials determine the safety level of tour buses.

He said simply considering the age of a vehicle would only cause more operators to buy cheaper buses as they can only use the vehicles for five years, which does the market more harm than good.

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