Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) said on Thursday that it had stopped offering shifts to part-time drivers after one of its buses crashed in Tai Po at the weekend, killing 19 people and injuring dozens.
The driver involved in the accident was working part-time, and as the 30-year-old appeared in court this week charged with dangerous driving causing death, his occupation was given as "cook."
KMB's managing director Roger Lee told Legco's transport panel that the company had suspended the hiring of part-time drivers after concerns were raised over their driving standards.
"In view of the incident, some members of the public were uneasy about the employment of part-time bus captains so we believe it is appropriate for us to address the concerns of the public by means of this measure," Lee said.
He said around 200 drivers have been affected by the move and conceded that some buses might not be able to run as scheduled.
But the Commissioner for Transport, Mable Chan, said her officials would be working with KMB to make sure services aren't affected.
Legislators suggested the suspension was an overreaction and it could add to pressure on KMB's full-time drivers, prompting Lee to deny it was simply some kind of PR stunt.
"We are talking about empathy, we are talking about the perceptions of the general public ... so I think this is something we should do."