THE Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) on Monday started a special operation to punish commuter bus operators who ignore hygienic issues as per the authority's directives.
The directives include appearing in proper uniforms and shoes which drivers must wear in order to control motor vehicles properly, said the Authority's Executive Director, Mr Gilliard Ngewe.
"However, we have started with a two-week education campaign as a reminder to all bus operators. This session is accompanied by an inspection of road service licences, reminding operators to fix original documents on their vehicles, among other directives," he said.
He insisted that operators are serving people and not animals. Hence, they must look smart and value their job like any other public servants. Then, if defiant they have to be handed over to traffic police for stern legal measures -- mostly driving licence nullification for not less than six months, according to Sumatra.
The worst offenders will have to face permanent licence nullification, never to touch either passengers or cargo vehicles throughout their lives. A Sumatra team visited Makumbusho and Simu 2000 bus stands where at least 10 vehicle operators were found to be defiant.
Some defended themselves claiming that it was the motor vehicle owners who did not give them uniforms. At the same time, some operators admitted to have never known the types of shoes that are tailored for drivers' use.
Sumatra Board Chairman, Eng John Ndugulu said that, it is both the full covering and open shoes that are allowed. The open ones must have a round belt to properly hold the heel so that the feet cannot slip backward and make the driver lose control.
He reminded them that a 30, 000/- penalty would be imposed on drivers wearing wrong shoes. If they do not heed the requirement they will lose their licences.