TD announces results of review on Guidelines on Bus Captain Working Hours, Rest Times and Meal Breaks
Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The Transport Department (TD) today (February 23) met the staff unions of bus companies to brief them on the proposed revisions of the Guidelines on Bus Captain Working Hours, Rest Times and Meal Breaks.
"In the past fewmonths, the TD has met with franchised bus companies and staff unions to proactively discuss and look into ways to refine the current arrangements in the Guidelines. The TD has taken into account the views of staff unions, franchised bus companies and the public when reviewing the Guidelines," a spokesman for the TD said.
After a comprehensive review of the Guidelines, the TD has planned to revise the Guidelines (see Annex) with the following major revisions:
(a) Maximum duty hours and driving hours in a shift will be shortened respectively from not exceeding 14 hours and 11 hours to not exceeding 12 hours and 10 hours;
(b) A rest break for bus captains after six driving hours will be lengthened from 30 minutes to 40 minutes;
(c) As bus companies have to maintain longer duty shifts for some bus captains to cater for service demand in the morning and evening peaks, the TD has proposed to add a new regulation to enable bus companies to suitably arrange duty hours of bus captains in a special shift exceeding 12 hours but not more than 14 hours, and driving hours therein should not exceed 10 hours, to tally with all bus captains in other duty shifts, i.e. driving hours not exceeding 10 hours.
To ensure sufficient rest times for bus captains, the revised Guidelines state that the rest times should not be less than three consecutive hours for bus captains in a special shift; and
(d) To avoid insufficient rest times for bus captains because of being assigned for work in several consecutive days, the TD also added one regulation that the total off-duty breaks in three successive shifts, other than special shift duties, should not be less than 22 hours.
The franchised bus companies should finalise their own shift arrangements according to the revised Guidelines. They are committed to meeting bus captains as soon as possible to explain the implementation details of the revised Guidelines according to the operational situation of the respective franchised bus companies. Upon working out the details of the shift arrangements, the franchised bus companies aim at implementing the revised Guidelines progressively from the second quarter of this year, and fully implementing the revised Guidelines in the second quarter of 2019 (i.e. one year later from now).
The above revisions of the Guidelines set out the upper and lower limits of working hours and rest times respectively. The franchised bus companies can arrange working and driving hours of the bus captains below the upper limit according to their operational needs. The TD understands that the franchised bus companies have expressed their plans to reduce the maximum working hours of special shifts gradually from 14 hours to 13 hours according to the recruitment progress of bus captains.
In fact, during the formulation of the revised Guidelines and the implementation schedule, the TD must consider the passenger demand in the morning and evening peaks, and that the bus companies should recruit sufficient bus captains so as to provide proper bus services.
Moreover, the TD spokesman said, "The TD understands that the bus captains are very concerned that the shift arrangements under the revised Guidelines may affect their actual income. As in other trades, the remuneration packages of bus captains are subject to a host of factors including the private sector market and the overall economic conditions, while an operator may flexibly determine the reasonable remuneration arrangement for bus captains according to its operating conditions. Therefore, the remuneration of bus captains should be negotiated between bus companies and bus captains. Nevertheless, the TD has instructed the bus companies to deal with the matter appropriately, and all bus companies have been committed to working out different proposals proactively to maintain and improve the actual income of bus captains, and to communicate and discuss with the staff as early as possible."
The TD stressed that under the current situation, it had to strike a balance among the provision of proper bus services for the passengers, the rest times and working hours of bus captains, and the operational needs of the bus companies when reviewing the Guidelines. The TD made reference to the regulations and practices of other cities overseas when reviewing and revising the Guidelines. The Guidelines just set out the upper and lower limits of the working hours and rest times respectively.
The TD will continue to review the actual situation from time to time, and encourage the franchised bus companies to make effective arrangements on the shift duties of their bus captains proactively and shorten the working and driving hours of the bus captains to less than the relevant upper limit stipulated when possible.
Published on: 2018-02-23
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