Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Letters To The Editor Of The Star



Simply afraid to take the bus

I AM deeply saddened by the death of Lee Nian Ning, the beautiful girl who died alongside two others, in a recent bus crash.

Innocent lives are continuously being lost on our roads.

Lee had a bright future ahead of her and so many people who loved her. She was taken away from all of them in a split second. A wrong bus ticket, wrong seat, wrong day and wrong bus driver – that’s all it took to kill her.

I am shaken by the news because I travel between Kuala Lumpur and Sungai Petani every other weekend and I am very fortunate to still be alive.

Like Lee, I am 21 years old, and I too have the whole world in front of me. I take the bus to go home to visit my family and friends. This was exactly the reason Lee boarded the bus.

In my two-and-a-half years of taking long distance buses, I have accepted that buses can break down, can be switched without warning, and even take nearly a day to reach its destination.

It’s not fair for us to constantly live in fear every time we get on a bus, not knowing if we’ll reach our destination alive.

As students, we are not able to afford plane tickets or drive our own cars, which will be safer and more convenient. Even if some of us own cars, we can’t afford the extra expenses that comes with driving up and down regularly.

Even if budget airlines offer cheap tickets, students and the poor are not able to afford them on a regular basis. With hefty airport taxes the so-called cheap plane ticket still burns a hole in our pockets.

This is the reason we choose to take the bus home or to our place of study.

Because of this accident, my friends and I now have a phobia of taking the bus. I don’t want to live in fear. I have a future, too.


JOLENE LAI PEI SHAN,

Sungai Petani, Kedah./Subang Jaya, Selangor.

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Reckless bus drivers must be stopped

I AM writing to tell everyone about the bus service that I used to travel from Penang to Ipoh recently.

I took the 4.45pm bus, plying the Penang-Butterworth-Ipoh route, and we left on schedule.

Because of the massive jam on the Penang Bridge and heavy traffic heading into Butterworth, we arrived at the toll station near Juru at 5.55pm.

I was prepared to arrive late but the bus driver had other plans. He drove like an incensed, raging maniac.

I could actually feel the bus lift at certain times. To top it all off, it was raining.

He frequently hit the brakes which caused the bus to jolt. He also stopped for a 10-minute toilet break.

We reached the Jelapang toll plaza at 7.20pm.

Taking into consideration the toilet break, it means that the bus driver took approximately one hour and fifteen minutes to drive from Juru to Jelapang!

I thought express buses are only supposed to drive at 90kph. This bus driver went way above the speed limit.

I could not sleep a wink because I kept being jolted awake.

I hope the relevant authorities would look into the matter and do something before people get hurt, especially since we have bus drivers who think they are above the law, and since the festive season is around the corner.

We also need more buses plying the Penang-Ipoh route.

It looks like there are only two companies plying this route, and these companies are playing with people’s lives when their drivers treat the roads like the FI circuit.

DISSATISFIED AND FRIGHTENED,

Ipoh, Perak.


--

31st January 2008

What happened to crackdown on buses?

I DO not know Lee Nian Ning personally despite coming from the same hometown as her. From the looks of it she had so much ahead of her (“Robbed of bright future” – The Star, Jan 28).

Looking at her pictures posted on the Facebook group (on the Internet) in her memory, I am most struck by how the pictures of her smiling in the groups of girls could easily have been pictures of my friends and me.

The bus company should be held liable over what happened. How many more accidents like this must we let happen before something is done?

I myself am a regular on the North-South Expressway. I am from Penang and study at Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. With the holidays looming, I can’t wait to go back to be with my family but I now dread having to make the trip back home.

Indeed, you can say accidents happen, tragedy happens. But let's not just let it happen when it definitely could have been avoided. How could a bus driver with 13 summonses to his name still be allowed on the road?

What happened to the crackdown after all those people died in that other bus accident just last year?

Where’s the implementation of all those new policies and rules?

Am I supposed to say a prayer and hope for the best each time I board a bus? It is inevitable that I will make one of these Penang-KL trips again. I do not feel so safe now knowing that I may be putting my life in the hands of a bus driver with a string of offences.

Please do something to make it safer for every one on the road.

RACHEL CHOONG MEI LING,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor.


1 comment:

Siong Hu said...

i was shocked when i screen through the Stars paper today...the news on the fatal bus accident is no longer available...and the only article that has is this article of yours..Why? i believe this issue is even greater than the ongoing inquest of the Datuk V.Lingam case...this concern about we human lives...but yet it was being swept under the carpet...i'm really disappointed with the editor of the STAR...