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‘Investigation’ of KL Bus Services

TRANSIT noted the following newspaper article

IN March 2010, a group of intrepid reporters from the NST decided to compare the different bus services offered in the Klang Valley.

They were never seen again. (cue creepy music)

Below is the article that was constructed from notes found in their notebooks. TRANSIT likes to call it The Streets Bus Project……

City bus service leaves much to be desired (Streets – NST)
Nuradzimmah Daim, Halim Said and Natasha Ilyas

An old lighting with unsightly wires found in a bus. — Pictures by Yazit Razali, Supian Ahmad and Natasha Ilyas (NST)

KUALA LUMPUR: There is much room for improvement where the city’s bus service is concerned. This is what our reporters discovered when we went on a random “inspection” of the bus service following numerous complaints from our readers.

Our reporters boarded the buses of different companies and traveled on different routes.

We rated them, among other things, on the bus condition, punctuality, attitudes of drivers and conductors, as well as the services provided including the monthly pass or Touch ‘N Go facility.

There is no air-conditioning and the damaged and old seats in this bus make the trip an uncomfortable one. Image courtesy of NST

A bus scoring between one and three points will be given a “poor” rating, four and five “average”, six and seven “good” and eight to 10 “excellent”.

The Streets reporters boarded the buses from several locations in the Klang Valley including Cheras, Ampang and Selayang.

Out of the 12 rides we took, only two buses scored eight points overall. Two others were given seven points; two with six; two with five; and four received a poor rating of three points.

Our “inspection” found that RapidKL bus drivers had the best attitudes but our only ride on a Len Seng bus left us shaking our heads.

Our reporter nearly fell off the bus after the driver failed to close the door and wait for passengers to pay the fare and be seated or had a firm grip before driving off.

On punctuality, all three reporters carrying out the “inspection” agreed that Metrobus was more reliable in getting to one’s destinations faster as its buses were available more frequently than the others.

Our reporters did not have to wait for more than 10 minutes for a Metrobus.

The clean interior of this bus (Metrobus?) is a welcome relief for our reporters. Image courtesy of NST.

We also noticed that some drivers tend to “race” with each other when they come across their colleagues from the same company.

It’s good to reach our destinations fast but surely not at the expense of our lives.

Some of the buses also did not arrive on time. Our reporters rated the Len Seng and SJ buses they took as being “poor” on punctuality.

However, one of our reporters had to wait for almost an hour for the RapidKL U3 bus from Warta Lama, Selayang, to Bandar Baru Selayang.

But it was difficult to determine the cause of the delay as some roads were closed for the Le Tour de Langkawi.

On the conditions of the buses, especially the cleanliness and air-conditioning, RapidKL once again scored the highest as most buses we boarded were new and well-maintained.

However, our reporters found that none of the buses we boarded were disabled-friendly due to the space constraints, especially from the front door to the passengers seats.

[TRANSIT: This is an unfortunate factor that we have to deal with when we purchase accessible buses designed in Europe. Most of these buses were designed so that wheelchairs enter and exit from the rear doors, not the front doors.]

On the accessibility of information, RapidKL has the most comprehensive website which not only informs the public about the specific buses to take if you want to go to KLCC from Ampang Point, for instance, but also the stops along the route.

[TRANSIT: How many of the other operators actually have websites? And what about print material? Bus destination signs? Helpful & informative staff?]

Overall, from our “inspection”, we find that there is an urgent need to improve the bus services, especially if we want to get city folk and visitors to use them regularly as a way to tackle traffic congestion.


Sorry about the melodrama of The Blair Witch Project…of course the reporters involved in The Streets Bus Project did manage to return and to file this interesting story about bus service.

It would be nice if they had gone ahead and published their rating score for all the different buses so that people would know the level of service offered by the various companies.

All in all, anyone following public transport in Malaysia knows that the majority of urban buses are in an extremely poor condition, thanks to a lack of investment & maintenance.

TRANSIT hopes that the upcoming SPAD bill and the new Public Land Transport Commission will start taking some major steps forward towards improving public transport service.

As usual, we invite your comments about bus services – please reply below or send an email to

7 replies on “‘Investigation’ of KL Bus Services”

I’m still wondering why Metrobus’ drivers reckless behaviour has never been highlighted. It’s pretty scary to see them racing on Jalan Ampang, constantly honking when they feel someone’s blocking their way (even not intentionally)… They also race to catch the orange light and they of course end up burning the red light. Is this called public transport? And they proudly promote the “Metrobus Academy” on their rear window… How funny is that?
I also won’t elaborate on the Metrobus’ buses environmental compliancy. I NEVER saw in my life (even in less developed countries) buses producing such a loud noise. They also exhaust lots of toxic fumes.
To finish I also don’t appreciate their constant touting.

Ten years ago, Metrobus was punctual to arrive but not punctual to leave. All the waiting on the bus has made me sworn off the company for good.

Hi Moaz, let me share wiih you my experience using Metrobus. In Setapak area, i can say that Metorbus is the worse in this area. A very classical reason why our people do not want to use public transport – Bus pooling passengers.
Yup, i m agree their buses are more frequent.,. May be due to number of buses that had. i believe that is one of the contributing problem. All Metrobuses servicing Setapak- 191 and 49 are the worse. They will wait very long at hotspot for passengers particulary at Jln genting Klang (near Pizza hut and near the pedestrian bridge,) , near Kolej Tunku Abd. Rahman, LRT wangsa maju. and at chow kit monorail station near a petrol station) They dont care the passenger needs to reach their destination on time. Do they have the approval from authority that they can do that?at moment, i don’t see any action taken on them.

Once, in the morning, around 7 am, i was caught in the metrobus for about 30 minute or more . it caused me late to work. The road at jln genting klang is narrow and very crowded esp. during morning peak hour. Yet this metrobus still stop their buses at the road. causes : problem to other road user by making the 2 lanes road become one lane. And because we had pay the ticket , we had to wait till the bus move.or else, we can get out from the bus. They treat the road as they owned it. I wonder is there any law existing against such incident and protecting user rights.

and another bad exprience i usual encounter is near the chow kit monorail.(near a petrol station) esp. at nite,. usually this metrobuses 191 and 49 will wait there and pool passengers til they satisfy. they are fishing for monorail passengers. that disembark there .

The problem is that from what i heard., This bus driver and conductor salary depending on their commission from ticketing sales. and they are many bus drivers servicing this routes . So they pooled passengers.

I felt like an idiot siting in the bus waiting and hoping they will start to move as soon as possible.its was a nightmare experiences and absolutely a major turn-off to encourage more people to use public transport if such irresponsible drivers exist. i think part of the problem not just lay on the drivers but the company as a whole. They are fully encounter for the policies that they make.

another experience, once during heavy rain, we were delightful when metrobus arrived at this bus stop near chow kit. At that time, i think all buses may have stuck at city. When i get in the bus, suddenly they dont turn towards Setapak. instead they turn to road to KL. i asked , “Why”. they say rain. what they are doing is that they driving marry-go around chow kit to pool passengers. i immediately get off from the bus even though i had to go thru the heavy rain.
what bus is this? why seem there is no law against them. are they being immune?

i hope Transit can investigate .

Hi Goh

Thanks very much for the comments. To make a formal complaint to the CVLB, we need to have a bit more detail – date & time and bus registration number if possible.

Without this info, we can still contact CVLB and ask them to investigate what is happening.

As for there being ‘no law’ actually there are laws but it is very hard for the CVLB to enforce because they do not have enough personnel.

We will do our best to get them to pay attention to your complaint.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

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