It can’t be more of the same

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Dear Editor,

Re: Transport chief says wooden buses should be phased out

These buses are being built and rebuilt in the fashion they have been built since the early 1960’s at a time when most of the roads were rough, winding and unsealed when higher speeds were not attainable.

Also they were built of heavy native hardwoods and not the cheap lightweight pine that is now being utilised.

True the Toyotas and Nissans are old but in the mid 2000’s there were up to 15 brand new FAW and 4 new Lifan constructed with new wooden bodies. Several of the FAW have suffered the same fate as the one in this recent accident!

Currently there are into service up to 5 new Dongfeng also truck chassis of which 4 are fitted with the same style wooden bodies and one with a steel framed body. These 5 are very powerful vehicles with all mod cons mechanically and far superior to the old Toyotas.

While a lot of the roads are now sealed they are not entirely suited for Toyota Coasters and Mitsubishi Rosa of which up to 50 have entered service in the last ten years and generally they are running on the better roads or around the Apia urban area. 

The majority of these were purchased new so it can’t be said that the operators can’t afford to buy them. 

So, in the case of wooden buses they are just maintaining the status quo. They do not have any alternative options that they can envisage. They are afraid of second hand from overseas having been bitten twice, first with 30 odd Korean 2nd hand jobs in the mid 2000’s then again with up to 40 Japanese 2nd hand jobs around 2010 at the time of the road switch.

Compounding the problem too is the massive increase in total vehicle numbers on the roads and to be honest in my opinion too many inexperienced drivers who are the causes of many accidents.

The whole roading system is under pressure with many roads not being wide enough to pass large vehicles safely and even large and small vehicles to pass. 

So where to go from here?

Definitely it can’t be more of the same. Perhaps some good solid advice and assistance from Richard Jagdish Lal is needed by the Government and its agencies here to resolve the bus situation. 

He already has one very safe bus constructed by his company running here with the Airport Authority here. If you put 50 or more of those the same size into service to get the ball rolling the operators will all soon want them. 

The culture among operators has always been to purchase new in the past.

 

Tausivaatele Peter 

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