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No bus for you reaches Selangor … again! (Update #4)

TRANSIT took note of more bad news in the public transport industry – another shutdown of bus services in Selangor.

Yes, you may not realize it but the “No Bus For You!” crisis that is affecting our public transport industry has already reached Selangor … and Perak, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, and Pahang. So this would not be the first time!

Earlier this year, Sabak Bernam and Kuala Selangor lost their bus service but no one really noticed … except perhaps the people at TRANSIT and some in the media (and they moved on pretty quickly, as they are apt to do).

But now, the most recent crisis that has been popping up all over the country, caused by CityLiner’s threats to shut down bus services in various states, is suddenly getting the attention of the public.

Cityliner wants govt ‘lifeline’ (The Star)
Tuesday December 13, 2011

[TRANSIT: Please help us out by sending comments to the Star using their email address, or You can also consider sending messages through their facebook & twitter feeds. The message has to get out that the public is frustrated!]

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RapidKL adds 150 buses to boost frequency

TRANSIT took note of another piece of good news related to public transport – the announcement of 150 new buses for RapidKL.

Hazlan Mohamed Hussain at the launch Monday. - Bernama pic

RapidKL adds buses to boost frequency (Business Times, 20 September 2011)

Rangkaian Pengangkutan Integrasi Deras Sdn Bhd (RapidKL), a public transportation provider, expects the addition of 150 city buses to its service to increase service efficiency in the Klang Valley.

RapidKL is a subsidiary of government-owned, Syarikat Prasarana Negara
Berhad (Prasarana).

Group director of bus division Datuk Hazlan Mohamed Hussain said the
addition of the new buses would increase the frequency on routes, thus reducing waiting time for passengers.

“The new buses will be of much help, especially in areas where the waiting
time can be reduced,” he told reporters after a ceremony hand over the buses
by MAN Truck & Buses (M) Sdn Bhd (MTBM), here today.

Hazlan said with improved efficiency, the company hopes to attract more
customers to use its services and this would raise revenue accordingly.

The new MAN buses are disabled-friendly. Image courtesy of Bernama.

Meanwhile, the new buses, manufactured by MTBM, incorporate features for the disabled, including wheelchair ramps and a yellow coloured interior, for those who has vision problems. — Bernama


That’s good news, isn’t it? More new buses is always good news. We hope that Prasarana would be forthcoming with some details about the buses – technical details for the bus fans, route information for the planners, and design information for those of us who are interested in policy.

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No bus for you, Tapah to Teluk Intan!

TRANSIT took note of another abrupt shutdown of a bus route, seriously inconveniencing public transport users.

Bus commuters left in the lurch over service disruption (The Star)
8 September 2011

THE abrupt discontinuation of the bus service plying the Tapah to Teluk Intan route has left hundreds of commuters in a spot, reported Malaysia Nanban.

A. Sugumaran, 46, from Pekan Kita said the service stopped on Monday.

“We are having problems in finding transport for our children to attend school. We are having a tough time arranging alternative transport,” he said.

Sugumaran said the bus operator, C. Ramarao, had said that he was forced to stop the service over a rental dispute with the permit holder.


This is just a small news item for some, but for us it is a “big deal” because it reveals the seriousness of the problems underlying our bus industry.

In this case it is not “costs” that are causing the shutdown, or a permit issue – but a rental dispute with the permit holder.

In other words, the permit holder – who owns the permit but probably not the bus, and is probably not providing the service, but is getting money – is probably not happy with the rate at which the permit is being rented.

This rent-seeking system of permits & pajak is bleeding the public transport industry in Malaysia and until it is resolved, all the rail projects that can be built in Malaysia will not make a real difference.

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Take public transport this Raya says RTD Chief. TRANSIT: Public transport is now comfortable, safer option

TRANSIT took note of a number of articles about the upcoming Balik Kampung period that we thought worthy of note.

Firstly, the director-general of the Road Transport Department has commented that the public should be confident to take buses to their destinations this raya, as buses are much safer than motorcycles.

As you know, each Hari Raya balik kampung period is accompanied by an Ops Sikap and daily announcements about deaths & collisions on Malaysian roads. And every Ops Sikap records that the greatest number of deaths & injuries occur among motorcyclists traveling on Federal Roads.

RTD Chief: Take the bus this raya; it’s safer (NST)
By Predeep Nambiar

KUALA LUMPUR: Those planning the annual balik kampung trip this coming festive season have been urged to use public transport, especially express buses.
Road Transport Department (RTD) director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan said the use of express buses instead of passenger cars will ease the anticipated traffic congestion during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri period.

“The government expects the number of people using public transport to show an increase from 17 per cent last year to 21 per cent this year.

“A recent research by MIROS (Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Reserch) shows that the accident risk of public transport vehicles is seven to nine times lower than passenger cars.

“It is also 48 times safer than a motorcycle.”

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RapidKL’s women-only bus service to expand next year?

TRANSIT took note of this article indicating that there may be a plan to expand RapidKL’s women-only bus services next year.

Women-only buses cheer: Additional coaches and routes being reviewed for launch next year (Malay Mail)
Shahrim Tamrin
Friday, June 10th, 2011

HAPPY LOT: RapidKL women-only coach during a trial run last December. Image courtesy of The Malay Mail.

KUALA LUMPUR: THE number of RapidKL women-only buses and routes covered in the Klang Valley may be increased next year as a result of overwhelming response from female commuters.

Shahril Mokhtar, group managing director of Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (Prasarana – which operates RapidKL)) said: “The feedback we received from working adults and college students on the special coaches has been overwhelmingly encouraging. The ladies are happy with this special service from their respective areas to the city.”

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No bus for you, Sabak Barnam!

TRANSIT took note of this article in the Star, stating that bus service in Sabak Barnam has been shut down since the beginning of May.

Sabak Bernam folk have no bus to go anywhere (The Star)
Saturday May 21, 2011

CITY Liner has stopped bus services between Sabak Bernam and Kuala Selangor since May leaving thousands of residents, school children and the public facing transport woes.

Sabak Bernam PAS Supporters Club president S.N. Paramasivam said stopping the service had created problems for the local community with most having difficulty going to work and school.

He told Malaysia Nanban that most of them were having difficulty in going to work and school with many having to depend on friends or taxis.


And so it begins. And despite the promises from SPAD CEO Syed Hamid Albar that SPAD will help, it does not appear that a solution is going to be found soon to the problem of bus operators shutting down because they cannot afford the operational costs.

But we have to wonder … are operational costs the only reason why services are being cut? Or is PMBOA responding to SPAD’s new expectations (re-registration, higher fines, SHE Code & maintenance standards) with an attempt at stonewalling by reducing bus service? After all, where is the proof that the cost of fuel, spare parts, insurance & labour are “spiraling” or “skyrocketing” or “increasing at an otherwise rapid pace”? We know, for example, that diesel costs have not changed in 2 years and the upcoming increase will not affect buses.

Or maybe, PMBOA’s predictions of doom were real and accurate, and sadly ignored by a government that is just too focused on getting the MRT project going?

We at TRANSIT expect that new SPAD COO Azhar Ahmad will find ways to resolve these issues – through public consultation, better planning, and involving local government and the public in the development process.

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Traffic mayhem continues in Brickfields

TRANSIT took note of this article which describes a complaint about continued traffic mayhem in Brickfields, despite the change to 1-way operation on Jalan Tun Sambanthan as well as increased amounts of parking space.

Check out the double parking – now on both sides of Jalan Tun Sambanthan!

Brickfields traffic mayhem (Malay Mail)
Police pledge sustained action as complaints mount
Faizal Nor Izham
Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Double parking on both sides of Jalan Tun Sambanthan affects private vehicles and public transport users. Image courtesy of the Malay Mail.

AN all-out swoop on those who contribute to the chaotic traffic condition in Brickfields is the only way to solve the problem, suggests BALJIT SINGH. 

He says while the authorities should bear the blame for poor planning, motorists should change their mindset for an effective solution to a long-standing problem.

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Prasarana MD: Total overhaul needed

TRANSIT took note of this interview of Prasrana Group Managing Director Shahril Mokhtar, in which he comments on the need for a total overhaul of public transport in the Klang Valley.

Shahril was previously the Chief Operating Officer of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) who’s CEO Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal has indicated that there are plans to reform buses – but we do not know if this amounts to total overhaul.

Public transport needs total overhaul (Free Malaysia Today)
Patrick Lee
February 15, 2011

The public transport system in the Klang Valley is in a mess and only a complete restructuring can repair the damage.

PETALING JAYA: Nothing short of a total overhaul will save the Klang Valley from its public transport mess.

[TRANSIT: We hope for FMT’s sake that the above is actually a quote – wouldn’t want to have any confusion here.]

Prasarana managing director Shahril Mokhtar said that the Klang Valley’s public transport system needed to be restructured.

He added that the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) had a long road ahead in getting this done.

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What is ahead for Malaysian stage bus operators in 2011? (Updated with Poll!)

Updated with another totally unscientific poll! See the bottom of this post!

For many years, TRANSIT has been concerned about the state of the bus industry in Malaysia as well as the impact on public transport services throughout the country.

On 11 February, the Pan Malaysian Bus Operators’ Association (PMBOA) submitted a memorandum to the government asking that the government take over all bus services in the country, or alternatively, provide “grants” to sustain their businesses. Otherwise, the PMBOA warns that the public transport industry in Malaysia could collapse!

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Eight more routes for women-only buses

TRANSIT took note of the recent launch of an expanded RapidKL Women-only bus service by Minister for Women, Family & Community Development Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

RapidKL reports that 92% of 1,400 respondents to a poll commissioned by RapidKL “liked” the service and 94% wanted it expanded.

TRANSIT has always felt a significant concern about the idea of gender-based segregation in public transport. We recognize the current need for services based on factors like heavy crowding, large numbers of female passengers using public transport, and complete lack of enforcement.

We do not “want” women-only bus service (or train services) to be “necessary” in Malaysia.

Eight more routes for women-only buses (The Star)
18 January 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: Eight more routes have been added to the women-only Rapid Lady Bus.

The service, which was launched in December by RapidKL with seven routes, now has 15 routes in the Klang Valley.