Operational Models, Drivers’ Compensation, and Bus Service Quality in Bangkok
Keywords:operational model, compensation, bus services, safety, service quality
This paper explores how operational models and compensation methods are associated with bus drivers’ incentives and consequently bus service quality and safety in Bangkok. We cross-analyze data on bus drivers’ compensation collected from a structured interview survey with data on passenger complaints and bus accidents compiled from governmental databases. Recognizing that the official statistics on bus accidents in Bangkok are undercounted, as the government includes only accidents with severe damages and injuries, we use passenger complaints as the proxy for safety levels. We find that private joint-service operators provide their drivers with far less compensation and benefits than the state-owned operator. The private operators also tie drivers’ compensation and benefit levels to the numbers of working hours and trips, especially on routes where private operators can compete freely. These compensation methods incentivize drivers to work long hours beyond what is permitted by law, inducing fatigue and potential accidents. The key policy implication is that the bus policy aiming to improve service quality and safety should improve drivers’ compensation and working conditions.
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