The Star Metro April 10 Edition had articles about the proposed revamp of the “Petaling Jaya Community Shuttle bus for the elderly and low income groups”
That description for the service is very apt and purposeful – even after 1 year of service the MBPJ still hasn’t gotten their collective heads around the idea that public transport is not a service for those who are unfortunate enough to not have their own private transport.
And while some “revamps” have been made as described in the article below, nothing will really change until the MBPJ (and to be honest, the State Government) change their view about the shuttle bus service.
By the way, a check of the MBPJ website reveals no information about the PJ Shuttle bus service. The link to the “latest schedule” is actually a broken link to meetings at a library somewhere.
If the MBPJ is putting in such a poor effort, no wonder people know so very little about the shuttle. Read the articles posted below and let TRANSIT and the MBPJ know what you think.
Revamp for free PJ bus scheme
Stories and photos by OH ING YEEN
THE free PJ Community Bus Service will revise its routes to provide better service to its target passengers — senior citizens and the poor — in Petaling Jaya.
The service was launched on Aug 17 last year and has two buses going around PJ Selatan (PJS) and PJ Utara (PJU) three times a day from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, except public holidays.
At present, there are 22 stops in PJS and 12 in PJU.
The PJS bus service cater to destinations like the MBPJ complex, the PJ police headquarters, the PJ Commu*nity Library, the Medan Maju Jaya district health centre in PJS 2C/5, the Jalan Othman market in Section 4, and the Taman Jaya LRT station.
Free service: The air-conditioned PJ community bus, which has been operating since August 2008, can accomodate about 33 passengers.
The PJU bus service passes the roads along the MBPJ complex, the Tesco hypermart, The Curve, Ikano, Section 6 police station, Dataran Sunway police station and the National Registration Department at Section 8.
According to Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) councillor Tiew Way Keng, who heads the recently formed PJ Community Bus Service task force, this is the second time that the bus routes are being revised.
“In the first revision, we included the LRT stations as previously the bus only stops at low-cost housing areas,” she said.
“Some people were hesitant to board the bus, thinking that it was meant for MBPJ staff only,” Tiew said.
On Wednesday, Tiew invited reporters to accompany the task force for a one-and-half-hour ride on one of the buses to observe and study the route.
Several shortcomings were observed during the trip. For example, there was no information on the bus schedule for people to know the time the bus would arrive at a particular stop, and there was also no bus stop sign to indicate where the people can wait for the bus.
Asked why the task force was only formed eight months after the service was launched, Tiew said that the service was previously the responsible of the engineering department.
Let’s go: Salina (right) and her son Mohd Harilad boarding the PJ community bus.
“During the first few months, the response was good but fewer and fewer used the service after that,” she said.
According to Tiew, the PJS service has an average of 30 passengers a day while only about 10 people use the PJU service each day.
Each air-conditioned bus can accommodate 33 passengers — 23 seating and 10 standing.
“According to the feedback we have received, some people want the bus to stick to the main roads and not turn into the lanes in low-cost housing areas as it takes a long time for them to reach their destination,” Tiew said.
“The reason for going into residential areas is to been more convenient to the old folks,” she said.
During the press tour in the bus during noontime, there was no one waiting at most of the stops, and only four passengers boarded the bus.
Salina Lateh, 44, and her nine-year-old son Mohd Harilad Zainal Abidin boarded the bus after Tiew explained the purpose of the bus to her.
“I’ve seen and heard about the bus but I’ve always thought that it was meant for the MBPJ staff, so I have not taken the community bus,” Salina said.
Cleaner Sumathy Poovan, 46, and her son flagged the community bus after waiting in vain for a RapidKL bus. This is her second experience taking the community bus.
“I hope that the bus can come earlier such as at 6.30am and extend its service till 6,30pm so that my son can travel to school and back,” she said, adding that it would save her the monthly RM50 school bus fare.
To provide feedback about the free community bus and the bus routes, the public can email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call 03-7954 2020/ 016-338 1503.
We would immediately make the following suggestions.
- Try to actually have a public transport committee before you implement a public transport service
- Stop thinking that this is a service for the elderly and poor. The community shuttle buses are a service for people who would like an alternative from the private car/motorcycle/taxi – not a service for people with “no choice”
- Buy more buses – because the current frequencies (more than 1 hour) between buses is simply unacceptable
- Make sure that these buses are properly-designed accessible buses
- Post the revised and maps of the PJ Shuttle Bus service prominently at bus stops, in the MBPJ halls, community newspapers, online etc.
- Coordination with the State Government so that there is proper funding and service integration – the whole of Selangor should have a network of convenient shuttle buses.
- Invite TRANSIT to provide feedback.