Former truck driver Ahmad makes the smooth transition from truck to bus What does it take for a lorry driver who has been working for more than a decade to make the switch to drive buses?
Recently, Asian Buses writer Shee Mun had a chance to talk with a bus driver, who has the experience in driving both, bus and truck at Segamat, Johor. Mat Noor Ahmad, a humble and cheerful 49-year-old who has about 13 years of experience plying his trade for commercial vehicles, is now working with Cepat Express Sdn Bhd. “I have been working as a truck driver for than 12 years. Previously, I was working at Port Klang but now I am happy to be a bus driver, as compared to driving a lorry as my current working hours are more regular and less tiring. I also enjoy the companion of passengers, where I am not driving alone for the entire journey,” said Ahmad. He emphasises on safety concerns, and stressed that it is a necessity for bus drivers who travel long distances, like himself, to address the problem of fatigue.
“As for my current job, the routes that I cover are from Segamat to Termeloh, Pahang and vice-versa. It basically takes up half a day, six hours from Segamat to Temerloh and another six hours on the way back. However, there is an underlying problem for every bus driver after driving continuously for hours—fatigue.
“Unlike driving trucks, safety on the road is always a knee-jerk priority when driving a bus, as I hold the responsibility to safeguard every single passenger on board. So, normally after arriving at the destination, I will have a good rest, take a power nap at the nearest possible R&R before departing for the next journey,” he said.
Ahmad further explains, besides fatigue, there are many things for him to be concerned about as a bus driver. These include the vehicle’s blind spots, road and weather conditions. “While driving a bus, one must ensure the safety of the passengers all the time. To avoid accidents, we have to stay cautious and vigilant on the road at all times.”
Asked about challenges and differences between driving a bus and truck, Ahmad explains that it is the social interaction with people and passengers that could be stressful sometimes. “Of course, driving a bus is somehow different from driving a truck in terms of driving speed, environment, and people you meet along the journey. I meet different type of passengers and frequently have to meet their demands, sometimes it could be stressful. However, after working for more than a year now, I am used to it already. I just need to be more patient and try my best to address their demands. Besides, I enjoy talking and communicating with people during the journey, as it is less boring.” he said.
“Being a travel junkie myself, as I am a person who loves to travel around, I enjoy my job as a bus driver as I can travel to different places while getting paid for it, “Ahmad jokingly said.