Sunday, March 30, 2008

Consortium and Super Nice bus driver smoke in the bus during the journey

No, this is not defaming. But a true incident happened to me on Wednesday evening (on Consortium bus boarded at Plaza Rakyat platform 4, 5:30 pm) and Sunday afternoon (on Super Nice bus boarded at home town in Penang, 1:45pm)

This is becoming a trend I believe, for whichever driver told not to smoke in the bus during the journey they's first reply:" Kalau busuk duduk belakang la!".

Let's forgive those brain immersed in carcinogenic smoke for speaking such selfish and senseless reply, for they don't know what they're doing. Oh, if they do have a brain, so to say.

But the company should be sued because they didn't ensure the safety of the passengers and their employees.

1. Same reason behind banning of handphones usage while driving - It's obvious that while using handphones while driving can distract the driver from what's on the road and they'll either in risk of (1) slow in response should there be any emergency e.g. emergency break (2) hands are not free to control the sterring and handbrake (3) not noticing any signs of danger at all for their focus is on the phone. For risk number 1 and 2, they can happen to smoker bus driver too, when they're searching for lighter or equivalent, or when they accidently drop the ciggerates and bend down to pick it up, it can cause road accident, too. This can lead to passengers and other innocent road users' life at risk, which is not fair at all. What's the difference between a ciggerate and a handphone in this case? Both also occupy our hands and are hazardous on the road. The same principle simply applies here.

2. Passengers' right - You don't have to be a physics professors to know even if the driver smoke near the window, ciggerate smoke doesn't blowned out of the bus but instead, blown into the bus because of stronger wind outside the vehicle. Even if the driver "kindly" suggest we sit behind if we can't bear the smell, but we have to consider if there is anyone willing to swap place with us at the first place? And, it's not just the smell, but the driver is exposing EVERYONE in the bus to lung cancer risk, with no rooms to flee to! Not that I want to sound as if the whole bus consists of health-conscious passengers, but it's a fact that a lot of passengers feel suffocating everytime the driver smoke. What makes us so special that we have to make other people to take our cancerous seat for we pay the same amount of money for the trip? The idea of giving other people something we want to get rid off is very wrong and selfish at the first place. The second level to this idea is that, why must we as the customers have to be the one oppressed by the service provider? I don't like to say this but it's true that we pay for "Super Nice" service - a healthy and safe service, and we want what we've paid for, that's it. Why should the non-smokers be the one giving in to smokers whose second hand smoke causes more harm to the surrounding people than the first hand smokers themselves? I don't mind companies hiring smoker driver. Drivers can have inform choice that if they smoke, very high chance they'll get lung cancer 20 years down the road. But their choice must not interfere with other people's right, too! We made the informed choice not to smoke, then why are our decisions not respected for we are still forced to breathe in second hand smoke from insensitive smokers? That's simply unacceptable!

3. Drivers' health - Obviously it is for the benefit of the drivers themselves to quit smoking. If they smoke, they wont live long. If they're sick of their life and want to end it rapidly, please use methods which will not cause discomfort to other people. Of course, comitting suiside is wrong at the first place. But when you're chronically killing other innocent people along with their suicidal plan, that again, infrindges other people's right, which is double sin. Don't tell me how cruel the society is and you need to boost yourselves to stay awake while driving OT in order to make more money. That's even more dangerous, can't you see it? You're half asleep and you need to constantly take in substances to keep you awake (and alive). As things go over limit and back-fired, again, who are the innocent victims? It's not like staying up to study when you gulp down 3 cups of coffee and let your own kidneys damaged by the effects of caffein and no other people be affected. It is different when it involves third parties directly or indirectly.

4. Companies image - While the government is strongly campaigning for anti-smoking activities, Tak Nak to ciggerates and etc, corporate responsibilites should also be on the shoulders of conventional campanies to uphold what is good for the nation. Of course, bus companies don't sell tobacco products and it sounds like they have nothing to do with each other, but as the trend of THEIR drivers smoking while performing duties is fast becoming a sad trend, the companies should take initiative to look into the matters. The drivers' welfare should be taken care of. Even if their employees are willing, but the employers have to assess if they are capable of performing their duties without depending on carcinogenic substances. Justification to this is that, if unluckily they lost their drivers to lung cancer or road accidents, they have to again spend money and time to train new drivers to keep up with their customers' demand; yet if they don't want to train new drivers, they'll loose their customers to other rival bus companies. Incentives for the companies is that they'll build good, healthy images for themselves by embracing anti-smoking motive. With this, I believe they'll attract even more customers as citizens are becoming more and more health-conscious these years.

These are the reasons I believe smoking should be banned on conventional drivers. If you find banning the usage of handphone while driving is justified, you should be able to understand why it is justified to ban smoking while driving a bus (which, mind you, carry more lifes in it!) too. If you find banning smoking in public places is justified, you should be able to understand how banning smoking while driving express bus is just an extension of the law, to better protect the non-smokers public and uphold human rights.

Let's say no to smoking. Let's boycott companies which allow their drivers to smoke WHILE driving the bus.

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