Jakarta – The National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) has advised Jakarta-owned bus service Transjakarta to create a unit specifically responsible for setting and maintaining safety standards following a recent spike in crashes involving the city buses.
The recommendation was made after the committee investigated the accidents and heard accounts from Transjakarta management, according to KNKT head of traffic and road transportation investigation Ahmad Wildan.
"After a thorough evaluation, we have concluded that Tranjakarta needs an additional office to deal with all aspects of bus safety," Ahmad said recently, as reported by kompas.com.
Transjakarta already has a unit to manage its operational safety. However, Ahmad said it was too small and that the role should be expanded.
He said Tranjakarta should also create more adaptive and dynamic standard operating procedures related to the roadworthiness of vehicles and skills of drivers, considering its fleet consisted of diesel, gas and electric buses equipped with different technologies.
The KNKT also recommended that the company map road hazards along all Transjakarta routes, including on toll roads, as the committee had found a number of risks along 13 rapid transit corridors during the probe.
According to Ahmad, a periodic review of Transjakarta drivers' competency is also necessary to ensure the safety of the service.
"Transjakarta management has told us that they are planning to create a driving academy next year to increase the knowledge, skills and professionalism of all of the drivers," Ahmad said.
The KNKT launched the probe into how Transjakarta operated not long after three separate bus crashes occurred on Dec. 6.
Transjakarta recorded at least 502 accidents involving the company's buses from January to October of this year – 88 percent of which were single-vehicle collisions and the remaining 12 percent involving other vehicles. This, according to KNKT, "exceeded the committee's tolerance limit".
The causes of the accidents included road and natural hazards, as well as human error and medical conditions that affected driving.
One example occurred on Oct. 25, when a Transjakarta bus arriving at Cawang Ciliwung Transjakarta bus stop on Jl. MT Haryono in East Jakarta crashed into the back of another bus that was in the process of dropping off passengers at the stop.
The driver of the arriving bus, identified only as J, and a passenger died at the scene, while 37 other passengers suffered a range of injuries. A police investigation later found that J, who had a history of epilepsy, might have suffered a seizure at the wheel before the crash, causing him to fail to hit the brakes before the crash.
After the results of the investigation were published last week, Transjakarta president director Mochammad Yana Aditya announced that the company would carry out a massive change in its system as per the recommendations of the KNKT to prevent further accidents in the future.
"We'll use KNKT recommendations to carry out some systematic changes in the Transjakarta operation," he said. (nal)