RapidKL dumps RM12m Klang Sentral

TRANSIT came across this article in the Malay Mail today indicating that government-linked bus operator RapidKL has given up on the Klang Sentral bus terminal.

RapidKL dumps RM12m Klang Sentral

Company can’t run profitably with just 20-passenger average, it says
Nevash Nair
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 07:28:00

AN average of 20 passengers during peak hours. This is the dismal figure that RapidKL says it has been experiencing after four months of operating at Klang Sentral.

Unable to cope, the company has decided to abandon its operations at the RM12 million terminal in Meru, hightailing back to the Bandar Klang terminal in the town centre.

The decision was announced on Monday by Rapid KL. In a statement announcing the new bus routes, it said the decision to shift operations back to the Bandar Klang terminal was made “upon request by commuters”.

This has not gone well with the Klang Municipal Council, which promised to take action against the company if it decides to make the Bandar Klang terminal its hub.

However, Rapid KL says it has little choice but to move its operations to survive.

Klang Rapid KL operations manager Atan Jaafar said RapidKL has been incurring losses since its began operating at Klang Sentral.

“We are bleeding here. We barely have passengers. During peak hours, we only have an average of 20 passengers. How are we going to make ends meet?” asked Atan.

He said the management was left with little choice but to “abandon ship”.

“To put it simply, we are moving back to Klang town because nobody is coming here.”

A visit to Klang Sentral’s Terminal B yesterday showed Atan’s claims had some truth. In the hour-long visit, not a single passenger boarded a RapidKL bus.

Two KL-bound RapidKL buses were parked at the terminal, with the drivers waiting for passengers.

The terminal also appeared deserted. No shops were open, in or around the terminal.

But it was different at the Bandar Klang terminal, which still had buses picking up and dropping off passengers.

The bus drivers at Klang Sentral, when interviewed, said this wasn’t unusual.

“We pass the time by just chatting, taking short naps while waiting for passengers.

What else can we do?” said one driver.

However, outstation-bound express buses appeared to be doing well.

Atan said it was unfair that other bus companies were still operating in Klang town but RapidKL had to depend on passengers from Klang Sentral.

“There are still buses operating in Klang town. This is unfair to us.

“We have complied with the Klang council order and shifted here, but why are other buses still operating from the town centre?” Atan said RapidKL made between RM400 and RM500 a day when it was based in Klang town.

“Now, it’s difficult to make even RM150 a day.

Operating at Klang Sental is expensive, but it has good facilities.

“But we cannot operate from here if there are no passengers.

“The authorities must come to a solution to this problem soon,” he said.

The Klang Sentral bus terminal opened its doors at the end of last year, despite protests from many parties.

It is six km from the town centre.

Many bus operators initially expressed their displeasure over the relocation, saying it added cost to their operations and was “a waste of time”.

Bus operators at Klang Sentral are charged RM900 in monthly rental fee, compared with just RM150 at the former Klang bus terminal.

Also, buses are now charged RM10 per entry to Klang Sentral compared with just RM2 at the old station.

Owners of shops and stalls at Klang Sentral have also complained about the high rental.

TRANSIT says:

One really has to wonder how long the state government is going to let this continue. The factors are pretty simple – urban bus terminals need to be maintained in order to keep urban bus services going. Klang had a very successful urban bus terminal and the authorities attempted to close it. However, the bus operators, passengers and local businesses have fought back and it appears that they have succeeded.

TRANSIT has long stated that the Meru bus terminal (aka Klang Sentral though it is not ‘Sentral’ nor in Klang would be ideal as a terminal for outstation buses, along with an “Expressway Rapid Transit” (ERT) service that would connect Klang Sentral with the DUKE highway and Jalan Duta in KL.

These proposals can be seen in our document here.

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