TRANSIT answers your Frequently Asked Questions about public transport.
Q. Why do RapidKL buses recently put stickers with codes like D135 and M032 on their buses?
A. TRANSIT has noticed that RapidKL has been adding these stickers (see images below) to their buses since June of 2009. We had our own guess that this was to help with fleet management. We put this question to RapidKL for more details and got this response:
This is a new “Bus Identification Exercise” to help RapidKL keep track of their fleet, with the following codes being used:
Code Model [Descriptions by TRANSIT]
D Dong Feng [The original “City Shuttle” buses]
M Mercedes Benz [The “long haul” buses]
K Kosmo [TRANSIT is not familiar with these buses]
L King Loong [The “big square” buses]
A An Yuan [The “tiny” buses (physically smaller than the rest]
V Volvo [The “accessible” buses]
I Iveco [The “old” buses (formerly operated by Intrakota]
TRANSIT will ask RapidKL to also put a sticker inside the bus – which will help passengers identify the bus when they are reporting about traffic congestion, collisions, criminal activity, pilferage, careless driving, etc. We hope to see this implemented soon.
Q. What is “Rapid-Transit” as you describe it in your website?
A. “Rapid Transit” refers to a public transport service that operates separate from other forms of traffic in some form of exclusive Right-of-Way (ROW) – the space taken up by the moving vehicle.
Right of Way (ROW) are defined according to 3 categories:
- Category C – a ROW that is operating in mixed traffic (and often facing traffic congestion)
- Category B – a ROW that is longitudinally separated from other traffic (special lanes or busway/tramway on an existing roadway)
- Category A – a ROW that is fully separated from other traffic – not linked to roadways and often above or underground (grade separation)
For our purposes, “rapid transit” describes public transport services operating in an exclusive ROW (Category A or B). “Rapid transit” gives public transport service a higher passenger capacity, making it more frequent and reliable since there is less interaction with other traffic.
There are various types of “Rapid Transit” meeting the description of Category A & B. These range from Metros and Commuter Trains and LRT (mostly Category A), to Bus Rapid Transit and Rapid Tram (a mix of Category A & B) to Busways / Tramways, and Bus / Tram Lanes (mostly Category B).
In TRANSIT’s proposals we have recommended that rapid transit networks (at least Category B ROW) be created to meet the basic public transport needs of Malaysian cities.
Q. what is the difference between normal taxi, premier taxi and luxury taxi? is it luxury taxi = merecedez benz, premier taxi = hyundai sonata, normal taxi = ageing iswara. 1 more question. what is the difference between red/white,blue and yellow taxi?
A. The Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) offers 3 types of taxi permits – Budget, Premier, and Executive.
Budget taxis are usually coloured red + white although some other models can be seen. Budget taxis most often use the Proton Saga/Iswara, although there are some Nissan Sentra and Proton Wira and Waja models. Currently the flagfall (starting) rate is RM2.
Premier taxis are yellow coloured and are usually found at hotels in Kuala Lumpur. Most if not all Premier taxis use the Proton Perdana model. Currently the flagfall (starting) rate is RM4.
Executive taxis are blue coloured and are usually found at hotels and tourist sites within the Klang Valley. There are a variety of models. The current flagfall (starting) rate is RM4-6 but most companies start at RM6.
In May 2009 the budget taxi operators again asked for an increase in the basic starting fare to RM3 or RM4 while, interestingly enough, the executive taxi operators have asked for a reduction from RM6 to RM4. The CVLB has pointed out that the RM6 fare is only a ceiling and the companies are free to reduce their fares.
Q. Why is KTM Komuter service so slow and why do the trains break down so often?
A. KTM Komuter service was introduced in 1994 as a simple and basic public transport system. The stations were given the simplest amenities. Back in 1994, the original fleet of 3-carriage “Electric Multiple Unit” (EMU) trainsets totalled 62.
There are 3 Classes of KTM Komuter Trains. The table below identifies the Class, Source of Propulsion Unit and Rail Carriage Builder
- Class 81, Hunslet (no longer exists), Jenbacher-Ganz (no longer exists)
- Class 82, GEC-Alsthom for its propulsion unit (now known as Alstom), Union Carriage from South Africa. Union Carriage no longer makes trainsets but they are involved in local overhaul and assembly in South Africa.
- Class 83, Mitsubishi Electric for propulsion unit, Hyundai (now known as Hyundai Rotem)
Since then, the fleet has dwindled in size due to collisions and maintenance issues. Both the manufacturers of the 1st (Jenbacher-Ganz) and 2nd (Union Carriage) series of Komuter trainsets are no longer in business. This means that there are no new parts for these trains, so KTMB have started cannibalizing the older KTM Komuter trains for parts.
At the present time, KTM Komuter is running with a fleet of approximately 36 trains – a little more than half of the fleet from 1994. In addition, they are carrying 3 times the number of passengers, over a longer distance.
Q. Why is the government planning to extend the LRT lines to Putra Heights?
A. TRANSIT believes that the government and Prasarana are trying to expand the usage of the LRT system by extending it to catchment areas in Subang Jaya and Puchong. By adding more passengers to the line, the operators will make more money.
The choice of Putra Heights as the ultimate terminal is an interesting one. Since Putra Heights is a low-density residential area, there will be fewer passengers. However, Prasarana is probably hoping that people will use Putra Heights as a transfer/interchange station and “ride around the loop” to get to their destination.
Another possible reason is the available land around Putra Heights – this would allow Prasarana to sell off some or all of the existing depots – at Ampang (Ampang Line) and Lembah Subang (Kelana Jaya Line) – which are located in prime commercial areas and are highly valuable.
Q. Why did RapidKL dump ‘perfectly good’ buses outside of Rawang?
A. Please note that the buses operated by RapidKL are owned by the National Infrastructure Company, Prasarana. According to Prasarana, the buses were not economical to operate because they had reached the end of their operating life (12-15 years).
The interim fleet has been decommissioned because they are no longer economical to operate and to maintain. As in other assets the longer the life time of the assets, the cost of operation increases due to decreasing efficiency of the engine. Correspondingly, the cost of maintenance also increases because the rate of wear and tear becomes higher. In addition, spare parts of these buses become increasingly difficult to procure.
In general, a bus has a lifespan of approximately 15 years. However, many Malaysians would observe that very old buses are a familiar sight on Malaysian roads. Hence, they would be suspicious of a company for abandoning “relatively new” 10-15 year old buses in fields outside of KL.
While we trust that Prasarana would have made the right decision, TRANSIT observes that many other companies choose to rebuild buses after their initial 12-15 years service lifetime. Old buses are often stripped of parts and the remaining fleet and parts can last another 15 years. Refitted and overhauled buses and the stripped parts could also be sold to other cities in Malaysia.
TRANSIT will invite Prasarana to share with us the report that recommends that the old buses be decommissioned – and if we receive the report we will share it with you.