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Journal Article


Ratanawaraha A, Chalermpong S. Transp. Res. Rec. 2018; 2672(31): 99-109.


Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand 2Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, and Transportation Institute, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand Corresponding Author: Address correspondence to Saksith Chalermpong:


(Copyright © 2018, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences USA)






Legalization is often a policy solution to perceived problems of inefficient and unsafe operation of informal buses in developing countries. Facing the world's second worst road safety record, the Thai government is set to ban the use of vans for intercity bus services and is considering banning individual operators and requiring them to form a legal entity. A question thus arises whether an operator's legal status significantly affects bus safety. This paper aims to answer that question by analyzing route-level data on accidents and legal status of intercity bus operators. The results of Poisson and negative binomial regression analyses confirm that the use of vans increases accident and fatality risks of intercity bus services. But the evidence does not support the government's claim that requiring operators to register as legal entities would make intercity services safer. For long-distance routes, more bus companies mean greater accident risks. The only situation where more individual operators mean higher safety risks is with fatality rates on long-distance routes. However, fatality rates are actually lower with more individual operators on short-distance routes. This is likely because most individual operators on short-distance routes belong to informal operator groups that adopt internal rules and procedures to govern members' behaviors. The key policy implications are that mandatory legal registration of operators does not automatically enhance bus safety, and that safety measures should focus on operational characteristics and actual practice.

Language: en


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