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Bus Rapid Transit in Penang & Johor?

TRANSIT wonders what you think of the image of a Bus-Rapid Transit vehicle. Does it look like the kind of bus that we are familiar with?

A high-floor bus rapid transit vehicle from Mexico City

One of the things that we try to do here is change perceptions about public transport – encouraging governments, the public, the operators and the planners to take a new look.

TRANSIT took note of some interesting articles recently including one in which the Minister of Transport mentioned plans to introduce Bus Rapid Transit to Malaysia starting in Penang and Johor Baru.

Tram-like buses for 2 cities (NST)

13 January 2010
by Minderjeet Kaur

KUALA LUMPUR: Penang and Johor Baru will be the first two cities in the peninsula to get underway the Transport Ministry’s tram-like transport system called the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line.

[TRANSIT: You can find more information on Bus-Rapid Transit here.]

Widely-used worldwide, the tram-like transport costs less to develop compared to Light Rail Transit.

[TRANSIT: But then so does a tram system]

Brainstorming sessions between the authorities and public transport experts on the system are going on.

[TRANSIT: And as before, we are not included]

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said the authorities are looking at some of the models that are being used abroad, including the Bogota model.

[TRANSIT: TransMilenio is the high-capacity bus-rapid transit system in Bogota, Colombia]

“We are aware that the LRT system is quite costly.

“We are looking at BRT lines which could cover more areas,” he said.

TransMileno Bus Rapid Transit in Bogota, Colombia

Moaz from TRANSIT also commented on this article, Experts in favour of bus rapid transport system (NST – 13 January) where he suggested that a BRT network should be built first before LRT is expanded.

Today, TRANSIT notes a feature on Bus Rapid Transit in the New Straits Times – comprised of 5 different articles.

Bus Rapid Transit Plan (NST Feature):

Also interesting are two articles about a new bus service, Perkhidmatan Bas Perintis (Pioneer Bus Services) offered by a consortium of 3 bus companies, which is to be introduced next month:

The soon to be launched Perkhidmatan Bas Perintis has a fleet of spanking new buses, 34 of which are on a trial run servicing 16 routes in south Johor. — NST picture by Hairul Anuar Abd Rahim.


It seems that the government’s plan is a serious one and it is going to go ahead with the implementation of bus-rapid transit in Penang, Johor and Kuala Lumpur.

7 replies on “Bus Rapid Transit in Penang & Johor?”

Haven’t taken a bus in Johor for years, but RM3.10 between Bkt Indah and next-door Iskandar seems bit too steep to my liking.
Isn’t Transitlink JB a consortium too?


What we really have here is more of the same. The consortiums (consortia?) are still providing the same type of profit-oriented public transport as before.

But then, RapidPenang and RapidKL are not that different from these various consortiums like Combined Bus Services or Transitlink or Pioneer Bus Services…after all, RapidKL was not much more than a consortium of the old CityLiner and IntraKota bus services plus the STAR and PUTRA LRT lines and the KL Monorail…before Dato Idrose came and took over Prasarana.

The difference between Rapid and the other consortiums is that Rapid is government owned and they get more money.

The point is that deep down, there has been no real change in the way public transport works in Malaysia.

And if that change does not happen with the SPAD bill…it may not happen for many years to come.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

some govt high official want to visit malaysia in connection with BRT in Malaysia at their own cost .How can you help in showing and explaining them the BRT in Malaysia.

Hi Amjad

There is currently no Bus Rapid Transit in Malaysia – the Johor project is in the process of being approved.

However, if you wish to know more we can put you in touch with the consultant responsible.

There are also two other alternatives – Indonesia and Thailand.

Indonesia has implemented various types of bus-rapid transit, with the Transjakarta being the oldest and the most successful. We can put you in touch with the Director of Urban Transport in Jakarta if you wish.

Also, a BRT system is under construction in Bangkok, Thailand.

However, we have no connections in Thailand.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

Hi, you talked abt the consultant for BRT in Johor ? Can we understand from him how they intend to implement BRT in Johor Bahru areas ? Or when they decide to hold a report and feedback session with Johoreans.

@TTW the project has just received a basic approval – more details are to come in the future.

What we know so far is that the consultant is looking at implementing a high-floor closed BRT system (like Transmilenio of Bogota or Transjakarta of Jakarta) rather than a low-floor BRT system (like Metrobus of Istanbul). The main system will link the suburban areas to JB Sentral and the Causeway.


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