Commuters have been warned of potential travel chaos on Friday. That day, bus drivers from several trade unions are expected to take part in work-to-rule action in protest against poor working conditions.
The Federation of Bus Industry Trade Unions, that is organising the industrial action, said drivers are being to forced to work long hours for low pay. The federation say this threatens the safety of bus passengers and other road users.
During the work-to-rule campaign, participating drivers will pull into bus stops fully before allowing passengers to board or get off. Drivers will also require passengers to stand behind the yellow line in the front of the bus, rather than allow the vehicle to be completely full, which is often the case during peak hours. Bus drivers will also not allow passengers to bring large items of luggage on-board.
At a press conference on Monday, the federation said that up to 4,000 drivers will take part in the work-to-rule action. It is expected to start from the first departures on Friday morning until 10am that day.
This comes after a KMB double-decker crashed in Tai Po in February this year, killing 19 people and injuring 60 others.
The federation said that under current guidelines, which were revised by the Transport Department after the crash, drivers may have to work 14-hour shifts under special circumstances.
They also say low salaries are not attracting enough new drivers to deal with staff shortages.
The Transport Department said in a statement that the guidelines on the bus drivers’ working hours and rest breaks balance the needs of drivers and bus companies, and ensures a good service for passengers.
The department also appealed to drivers to exercise restraint during their protest and to “maintain proper bus services for the well-being of Hong Kong people”.