1. Article: Firm denies using taxi coupons to make ‘easy money’ (NST, 10 August 2011) – Mohd Nasir Mohd Rashid, Exec. Chairman of MESRA Indah Jaya Sdn. Bhd. which operates the taxi coupon system in Johor Baru, has denied allegations that it is making an “RM2 profit from the sale of coupons as alleged” but only “taking a 10 per cent commission to cover our maintenance and management costs.”
3. Article: SPAD to boost Raya road safety (The Malay Mail, 10 August 2011) – SPAD’s first time participating in the annual Balik Kampung / Hari Raya safety campaign, from 14 August – 14 September including investigation & checking of public transport vehicles “round-the-clock”. Unfortunately, we also read this article: Article: Meddling riders a problem, drivers say (The Star, 11 August 2011) in which JPJ director-general Solah Mat Hassan appears to blame passengers for asking questions and pressuring drivers into driving faster.
Express bus passengers should ensure a safe journey by not pressuring their drivers unnecessarily, said Road Transport Department (JPJ) director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan.
He said passenger pressure was a big concern for many drivers who felt pressured to drive faster to reach their destination quickly.
“Some always ask ‘what time will we reach?’ Passengers must not give drivers this unnecessary pressure.
TRANSIT: What nonsense! As if passengers asking “are we there yet?” is the only factor behind our unsafe buses?
4. Articles: NST has two articles about the upcoming Balik Kampung rush:
TRANSIT took note of this article in the NST which discusses the challenges that bus users often face in Malaysia – congestion and unsafe travel.
In this specific case, the article is referring to passengers who have to disembark from buses into “live” lanes, avoiding other traffic, motorcycles, etc.
The usual reasons are congestion, including cars parked at bus stops or layby lanes but sometimes the reason is really unprofessional drivers and management not caring (or caring but not being able to do much).
Unfortunately, our fractured public transport system does not encourage the efficient management of public transport – meaning that these issues remain unresolved to this day.
It is funny that some people (often with good intentions) believe that people need to have more faith in the public transport system and demonstrate this by taking the bus – but do not call for more efforts from the operators & other stakeholders to improve the quality & professionalism of the service.
In other words, they want public transport users to take a leap of faith, without expecting or asking for any improvements & actions from the government & operators. Well, that is just not good enough.
Commuters risk their lives alighting from buses that stop in the middle of the road instead of at the bus stop
KUALA LUMPUR: Bus passengers are disembarking in the middle of the road because buses are prevented from stopping at the bus stops by motorists using the stops as their personal pick and drop-off points.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org