TRANSIT noted the following newspaper article
IN March 2010, a group of intrepid reporters from the NST decided to compare the different bus services offered in the Klang Valley.
They were never seen again. (cue creepy music)
Below is the article that was constructed from notes found in their notebooks. TRANSIT likes to call it The Streets Bus Project……
City bus service leaves much to be desired (Streets – NST)
Nuradzimmah Daim, Halim Said and Natasha Ilyas
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