TRANSIT took note of the announcement from the Minister of Transport about the introduction of Bus Expressway Transit (RapidBET) service, beginning 12 January 2010 (Tuesday, next week).
Updated with new articles & information!
- Faster journey as RapidBET system begins operations (The Star)
- Highway buses in Klang Valley (the Star)
- New rush-hour bus routes (NST)
- Khidmat RapidBET bermula Selasa (Harian Metro)
- RapidBET yakin jadi tumpuan (Berita Harian)
Specific Details & Questions and Answers
1) What is RapidBET? When will RapidBET start?
Rapid Bus Expressway Transit is a peak hour service operated by RapidKL that uses less-congested expressways to bring passengers to their destinations more quickly. (Ans. from RapidKL)
RapidBET will start beginning 12 January 2009 (ans. from RapidKL)
For the introductory stage, two routes will be implemented starting next Tuesday. The routes are:
- RapidBET1 – Kota Damansara (U88) to KL Sentral & Pasar Seni via the Penchala Link
- RapidBET2 – Bandar Sungai Long to KL Sentral & Pasar Seni via the Grand Saga Highway
According to the posting on the Minister of Transport’s personal website and Ministry website, notices have already been placed along these bus routes.
2) Will the RapidBET Service be accessible to the OKU patrons?
We will ask RapidKL and get a response. We assume it would not be an accessible service for those in wheelchairs.
3) What routes will RapidBET follow?
Four BET routes have been identified, namely:
- BET1 – Penchala Link (Kota Damansara to Pasar Seni), with an estimated 70 minutes reduction in travelling time (from 120 minutes to 50 minutes).
- BET2 – Grand Saga (Bandar Sungai Long to Pasar Seni), with an estimated 35 minutes reduction in travelling time (from 85 minutes to 50 minutes).
- BET3 – New Pantai Expressway (Subang Mewah to Pasar Seni), with an estimated 15 minutes reduction in travelling time (from 75minutes to 60 minutes).
- BET4 – KESAS (Sri Muda to Pasar Seni), with an estimated 15 minutes reduction in travelling time (from 90 minutes to 75 minutes). (Ans. from RapidKL, Minister of Transport)
4) How much time would RapidBET save? How frequent will the service be?
Expected time savings of and the time savings is between 15 to 70 minutes. (Ans. from Minister of Transport)
TRANSIT notes that BET4 could save a significant amount of time (more than the 15 minutes) by continuing along the KESAS highway to the Maju Expressway, then taking the Maju Expressway up to KL, instead of following the heavily congested Jalan Kewajipan and NPE route through USJ, Subang Jaya and Bandar Sunway.
Promised frequencies are 15 minutes for BET1 and 20 minutes for BET2.
[TRANSIT: The old Trunk Bus service operated by RapidKL promised a frequency of 10 minutes. See below for more information about Trunk Bus service.]
5) Will RapidBET cost more than regular Bas Utama?
According to the media, Ebi Azly Abdullah from Prasarana/RapidKL has been quoted as saying that the cost will be the same as the current Bas Utama, with maximum fare of RM3 – but we will have to confirm that directly from him.
6) What is the difference between RapidBET and RapidKL’s Express Buses (Bas Ekspres)?
TRANSIT does not see much difference. The buses used will probably be RapidKL long haul buses. The main difference is that the RapidBET will use the toll expressways (KESAS, NPE, Grand Saga, Penchala Link) instead of the free expressways.
However, this is more a matter of semantics and marketing. RapidKL Bus E-1 (Pasar Seni to Putrajaya Sentral) used to use the KL-Seremban Highway but now uses the Maju Expressway (KL-Putrajaya-KLIA Highway). RapidKL bus E-2 (to Kajang Sentral) uses a toll-highway to get to Kajang, and RapidKL Bus E-4 (Pasar Seni – Klang) uses the federal highway which has two tolls.
TRANSIT also notes that a check of Bus Routes at the rapidkl website shows no indication of express bus routes – suggesting that express bus routes may be replaced by RapidBET … or alternatively, RapidKL has forgotten to include the Express Bus routes in its website.
7) What is the difference between RapidBET and the old Trunk Bus service offered by RapidKL in 2006?
Trunk Bus service was introduced by RapidKL on 1 April 2006, the second step of RapidKL’s new routing system. It followed the introduction of City Shuttle bus service on 16 January 2006.
The “Hub & Spoke” system of Local-Trunk-City buses was supposed to increase the frequency of bus service by offering limited-stop bus services along main routes, linking suburban bus hubs to urban public transport hubs (LRT/KTM stations)
Trunk Buses promised to operate at 10 minute frequencies. Unfortunately, the buses could not maintain the promised frequencies because of traffic congestion (they used the toll free & traditional highway routes) and because bus drivers would pick up and drop off passengers at ‘unofficial’ bus stops (slowing down the service).
On 21 April 2007 the new CEO of RapidKL, Suffian Baharuddin initiated the “integration” of many of the Local (Tempatan) and Trunk (Utama) bus routes.
8) What is the difference between RapidBET and the Dedicated Transport Service (DTS) to Cyberjaya?
According to one source, between 6.45am to 7.45am, four buses will head from Kota Damansara to Pasar Seni in 15-minute intervals and buses on the return route will start from 5.30pm until 6.15pm.
The number of stops would be reduced from 40 to five.
As for the Bandar Sungai Long route, the journey will be reduced from 85 minutes to 50 minutes. The number of stops will be cut down from 48 to 11.
The six buses plying this route will also head in a one-way direction at 20-minute intervals from 6am until 8am, and return from 5pm to 7pm.
[TRANSIT notes that these times are relatively early starting and departure times for many people.]
This is quite similar to the Dedicated Transport Service, except that the Dedicated Transport Service has buses all day from various points in the Klang Valley and Seremban to Cyberjaya.
In addition, the cost of the Dedicated Transport Service is more than RM200 per month, and the buses have real-time GPS monitoring. There is also a system to monitor the passengers (Vyberjaya knowledge workers) to confirm that they have boarded the DTS buses.
9) What is the difference between RapidBET and the proposed Bus Rapid Transit system?
RapidBET will use regular buses operating on less-congested highways, with a system of priority at toll booths (the details of which have yet to be determined).
RapidBET will only operate during the early peak hours.
Bus Rapid Transit will operate all-day, at frequencies of 10 minutes (and hopefully better). Buses will likely be placed in the middle (median) of the roads and the bus lanes will be physically separated from the other traffic lanes.
10) What is the difference between RapidBET and TRANSIT’s proposal for Expressway Rapid Transit?
TRANSIT believes that RapidBET is a basic application of a few of the principles behind TRANSIT”s proposal for Expressway Rapid Transit, which can be seen here (corridors map), here (report to EPU subcommittee) and here (presentation to EPU subcommittee).
TRANSIT’s proposal is for more expansive and uses more of the highways surrounding the Klang Valley to create links between the Bus and LRT system.
The current RapidBET (and future BRT) is designed to speed up the movement of people from the suburban areas to the city. In this way, it is just an extension of current bus services, and shares many similarities with the Express Buses (as described above in Q & A #6 & #7).
In contrast, TRANSIT’s Expressway Rapid Transit aims to build a complete public transport network at a far lower cost than LRT construction.