School buses, boats to display details of owner, driver

National 2 minutes, 29 seconds


BOATS and buses used to transport schoolchildren will now feature certificates containing information on the driver and operator of the vehicles.

The move was a bid by authorities to improve safety and accountability in this transport sector.

Meant to be attached in a visible location on the boat or bus, the certificates showed photographs and details of the driver of the vehicles, the vehicle’s owner or company and the approval from the Ministry of Education (MoE) to transport students.

Speaking to The Brunei Times at a handover ceremony yesterday at Pusar Ulak Jetty, Head of MoE’s Vehicle and Transportation Division Pg Hj Bahrin Pg Hj Sulaiman said the initiative emphasised the importance of safety and hoped to provide confidence amongst passengers and their families.

The certificates would allow the passengers to be aware of the names and details of the people transporting them, he explained.

The division head hoped that the certificates would provide assurance that the drivers were trustworthy and safe, so the passengers will not be hesitant for their safety.

“(Our) drivers have to have a legitimate license that is not expired, abide by the conditions and not breach the contracts that have been agreed upon,” he said.

According to the division, school bus drivers have all attended relevant training and attained licenses, while temuai, or longboat drivers have undergone training with the Marine Department.

The introduction of the certificates was also hoped to prompt drivers to check that the attendance of passengers onboard, to ensure that have been registered and granted approval by the Scholarship Department and Department of Schools to ride.

Some 11 companies received their certificates yesterday.

Pg Hj Bahrin said there were 64 temuai school boats and 152 buses operating in Brunei-Muara.

The boats seat about 12 people while the 82 of the buses were 15-seaters, and the remaining 70 were 22-seaters.

Asked about the issue of safety, the division head emphasised the requirement for passengers to use life jackets while on the boats.

“Once you enter it, you have to wear it and it is the responsibility of principals, drivers, relevant parties to tell the passengers to wear it,” he said.

“It is compulsory to wear the life jackets even if the journey distance is not far,” he added.

The certificate initiative would complement the division’s annual checks on the conditions of the vehicles as well as on the drivers’ credentials.

“For school buses, even if it is still functioning well after more than 10 years, we will stop its usage,” Pg Hj Bahrin shared.

“Buses will be replaced with (other buses less than 10 years) but at the same time we will give opportunities for interested parties (to buy the old buses).”

The event yesterday marked the preliminary phase of the handing over of the certificates.

In the second phase, the certificates will be given by principals to operators of vehicles that transport students to and from their respective schools, including temuai operating with schools within Kg Ayer.

The Brunei Times