【明報專訊】THE government has published the Report of the Independent Review Committee on Hong Kong's Franchised Bus Service, which has made 45 suggestions on improving bus safety. After the occurrence of two deadly road accidents involving buses in less than two years, it is of course important to step up the related safety measures. But even more important is that the government and the bus operators must set their mindset to rights and take the initiative to enhance bus safety, rather than only following up the problem passively after serious accidents. Despite all the inadequacies of the Transport Department pointed out by the report, the authorities still deny a dereliction of duty. Such an attitude indeed needs to be questioned. Ensuring passengers' safety is the duty of bus operators rather than an act of kindness. It is unreasonable to say "there is no such thing as a free lunch" in this regard. The government has cited bus companies' need to hire more bus captains to improve safety as a reason for approving the latest fare hike. This is in effect allowing bus companies to shift their responsibility and telling the passengers to pay the bill for bus safety.