The Consumers’ Foundation yesterday called on the government to update safety regulations for public buses, after several injuries were reported over the past few months.
The foundation said that on Aug. 2, a college student in Taichung had her neck clamped by a bus door for more than 10 seconds while trying to disembark.
On June 11, National Taiwan University physics professor Chiueh Tzi-hong (闕志鴻) had his right leg clamped by a bus door, while the bus was driving, the foundation said, adding that the driver only stopped after several hundred meters.
The driver had failed to wait for Chiueh to safely board the bus through the rear door, it said.
Citing data from the Taipei City Public Transportation Office, the foundation said that over the past four-and-a-half years, 926 people were hurt on buses in the city, and 40 percent of the incidents involved passengers aged 65 or order.
Most accidents were due to buses abruptly braking and involved passengers standing on buses, or moving to or from their seats while the bus was moving.
The city government conducts annual assessments of bus operators, including their general facilities and facilities for physically impaired passengers, vehicle equipment and safety, passenger service, driver management, and company operation, said foundation director Chen Ju-yin (陳汝吟), who is also a member of the transportation office’s assessment committee.
However, only three of the current criteria are related to safety and consumer rights, while past assessments often failed to reflect riders’ experiences, she said.
According to Article 7 of the Consumer Protection Act (消費者保護法), bus operators must provide safety warnings or emergency response manuals, foundation deputy chairman Chen Chih-yi (陳智義) said.
Bus operators should learn from Taipei’s MRT metropolitan railway system and prevent accidents involving closing doors, the foundation said.
A total of 3,612 accidents and injuries related to bus operations were reported in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taichung and Kaohsiung from 2015 to last year.
The foundation called on the central government to re-examine the assessment criteria for bus operators, tighten safety regulations and increase fines, to promote a “safety first” traffic culture.
The government should also encourage bus operators to set up online platforms for consumers to report safety concerns on buses, the foundation said, adding that complaint should be publicized on those platforms.
Such information must be transparent, it said.
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