Bus Iskandar Malaysia shows us how public transport should work!

TRANSIT took note of this article, describing the new Bas Iskandar Malaysia service on 16 routes,  introduced in the Iskandar Development Region of Johor.

Unlike many other parts of Malaysia where cities and suburbs grow faster than the transport networks that will support and sustain them, the Iskandar Development Region is being planned differently.

In Iskandar, the transport networks are being planned out first, and the city built afterwards in response to those plans.

More importantly, Bus Iskandar Malaysia represents a step forward for public transport – an Organizing Authority (Pasukan Pengangkutan Awam Iskandar Malaysia) working with different government agencies and private companies to provide an organized, effective, public transport service.

The proposed public transportation network in the Johor Baru Structure Plan. Image courtesy of the Planning department

More buses to ply routes in Iskandar Malaysia offering improved services
Friday April 30, 2010
By NELSON BENJAMIN and SUAN ONG
nelson@thestar.com.my

JOHOR BARU: People living within Iskandar Malaysia can now enjoy improved accessibility and mobility with an additional 34 buses that will ply 16 routes, which were previously not serviced.

The buses, known as Bus Iskandar Malaysia, are part of the initiatives implemented under the Iskandar Malaysia Transportation Masterplan.

The buses will service areas like Larkin, Tampoi, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah, Bukit Indah, Gelang Patah, Skudai, Sri Alam, Johor Jaya, Pasir Gudang, Masai, Kota Iskandar, Ulu Tiram, Danga Bay, Taman Senai Jaya and Felda Ulu Tebrau.

Iskandar Malaysia Transport Steering committee (IMTSC) chairman Datuk Abdul Latiff Yusof said the buses would be fitted with a Global Positioning System (GPS) devide and Close Circuit Television (CCTV) to enable the bus operators to monitor the buses and the routes they service.

“The information gathered from the systems will be fed into monitoring centres stationed at each bus depot,” he said.

He added that these monitoring centres would be tasked to analyse the data and use the information gathered to further improve the services provided and to iron out any gaps.

Abdul Latiff said all bus operators involved were guided by a Safety and Environmental Code of Practice to ensure efficiency in management, quality service and safety of commuters.

Currently, more enhancements are being reviewed to further improve the bus service.

“We are also looking at other supporting initiatives such as programmes to develop public transport operators and drivers competency and also introduce maintenance culture for public services vehicles as well as terminals and bus stops.

This will be benchmarked against best practices in the region, Abdul Latiff said.

Spearheaded by IMTSC and Pasukan Pengangkutan Awam Iskandar Malaysia (PIAM), the initiative is implemented with the collaboration of the Johor Economic Planning Unit, five local councils, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), police, Road Transport Department and other agencies.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman launched the event at the Kota Iskandar terminal recently.

The Star welcomes feedback from the public on the Bus Iskandars services. Feedback can be e-mailed to nelson@thestar.com.my.

TRANSIT Says:

The whole idea of bus service in the Iskandar Development Region is an interesting one because it represents a concept of public transport – as a service, not an entrepreneurial exercise – that we have not really seen in Malaysia for a long time.

Some of the Bas Iskandar Malaysia buses at the launching ceremony. Image courtesy of Iskandar Malaysia.

What makes Bus Iskandar Malaysia different is that:

  • The Bus Iskandar Malaysia service is a joint venture of the government, Iskandar Regional Development Authority, Pasukan Pengangkutan Awam Iskandar Malaysia and various bus operators.
  • The private operators (Syarikat Pengangkutan Maju Berhad, Handal Indah Sdn. Bhd. and Syarikat Kenderaan S&S Sdn. Bhd.) compete to gain contracts from Iskandar Regional Development Authority to service different routes, instead of competing on the same routes – this is how privately-operated public transport should work!
  • They emphasize service on “social routes”
  • They provide a colourful, interesting flyer and booklet with detailed information including schedules, fare tables and route maps for all 16 routes – for the public transport user, information means power + freedom + mobility!

For more information, see the Bus Iskandar Malaysia website or the interactive slideshow. You can also read the text of the speech of the Johor MB Abdul Ghani Othman, which also has information about plans to improve the service, including the introduction of Bus-Rapid Transit.

The sad weakness of the service is the buses themselves – they are built on highway bus chassis and have numerous steps – making them less accessible for the less mobile, and inaccessible for those on wheelchairs.

One of the Bus Iskandar Malaysia buses, showing the steps that passengers must climb in order to board or disembark. Image courtesy of Iskandar Malaysia.
All three of these buses shown at the launching ceremony are multi-step buses, uncomfortable for the less mobile and inaccessible for the disabled. Image courtesy of Iskandar Malaysia.

TRANSIT hopes that future buses in the region will use the standards for low-floor and non-step buses currently being developed by the Ministry of Transport for city buses.

Bus Routes for Iskandar Malaysia as of 30 April:

NOTE: Click on the link for route map

  • IM-01 Kg. Melayu – Terminal Bas Larkin;
  • IM-02 GIANT Tampoi – Bandar Baru UDA – Danga Bay;
  • IM-03 Bandar Baru Uda – Jalan Tahana – Jalan Tampoi – Desa Rahmat – Plaza Angsana – Jalan Skudai;
  • IM-04 Taman Ehsan Jaya – Taman Mewah – Terminal Bas Johor Jaya
  • IM-05 Gelang Patah – Pendas;
  • IM-06 Bukit Indah – Taman Mutiara Rini – Lima Kedai – Gelang Patah – Kota Iskandar;
  • IM-07 Taman Nusantara – Pekan Gelang Patah – Kota Iskandar;
  • IM-08 Taman Flora – Bandar Seri Alam – Today’s Market;
  • IM-09 Seri Alam Today’s Market – Kota Puteri – Megah Ria – Tmn Rinting;
  • IM-10 Taman Sri Skudai – Taman Sri Putri – Taman Nesa – Terminal Bas & Teksi, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah (T.U.T.A);
  • IM-11 Taman Senai Utama – Jalan Seelong – Mobil Ulu Tiram – Terminal Bas Johor Jaya;
  • IM-12 Terminal Bas & Teksi Masai – Terminal Bas Pasir Gudang – Darul Hanan – Spg Tmn Bukit Dahlia – Spg Tmn Cendana – Tmn Cendana – Spg Tmn Kota Masai – TS Hotel – Impian Scientex – Politeknik Pasir Gudang – Bulatan Heliconia – Spg Kg Kopok Baru – Tmn Desa Rakyat;
  • IM-13 Kampung Pasir Putih – Taman Air Biru – Terminal Bas Pasir Gudang – Taman Cendana (outer) – Terminal Bas & Teksi Masai;
  • IM-14 Terminal Bas & Teksi Masai – KFC Bkt Dahlia – Terminal Pasir Gudang – Tasek Perdana – Spg Bkt Dahlia – Persiaran Cendana – Lake Hill – Persiaran Scientex 1 & 2 – Nusa Damai;
  • IM-15 Terminal Bas Kota Masai – Taman Pasir Putih – Terminal Bas Pasir Gudang;
  • IM-16 Terminal Bas & Teksi, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah (T.U.T.A) – Taman Impian Emas – Taman Anggerik – Taman Tampoi Utama.
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6 thoughts on “Bus Iskandar Malaysia shows us how public transport should work!”

  1. hi,
    1. if their follow the transjakarta, even the is using high deck bus, but the bus station have a high platform as well..

    2. do their consult with any Priority Group user on this (BEAT?), what a lost that a new bus system fail to adopt Universal Access to disabled.

    3. agree with u, Government should on implement this type contract. the Contractor will have a dedicated route or area to serve in which KPI is monitored. all payment are going through the owner (government). regardless profit or not, the contractor will received suffiecient payment each months with some penalty for non performance.

  2. Hmm, at least some coordination. They did emphasis this is social service. But if it’s going to stick to its one hour frequency as shown in the pdf linked up there, with no update at the website once launched (last accessed Mar 7, 2011), do you really think it’s better than Metro or Selangor Omnibus ?

    1. @myshinshin

      The system is not perfect but it is an improvement over the poorly regulated, mixed-up, private vs. public system that we have in the Klang Valley.

      The information and services will improve if it becomes clear to the Iskandar Region Development Authority and their Transport regulator that this is what the public wants.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  3. Thanks for the support and all views are most welcome. Bas Iskandar Malaysia (BIM) is one of the transformation process we would implement in Iskandar Malaysia. Of course BIM itself will not be sustainable in the long run. The whole migration of Public Transport in Iskandar Malaysia is a must, where cross-subsidy, controlled competition to increase effectiveness and efficiency, projection of a single brand to represent the whole PT system in Iskandar, is the way forward.

    But PAIM needs the support of everybody. PAIM alone could not do wonders. We need political willingness, support from operators and NGOs like Transit to make this happen.

    By the way, we will launch a new service in July the earliest, under the branding of TransIskandar, named beXTRA, as for Bus Express Transit, for KulaiJaya-JBCC route, with 9 stops alogn the way. Would love to hear from you guys about the service then.

    Thanks again for all the helpful comments.

    Gadaffie
    Proejct Manager
    PAIM

    1. @Gadaffie

      Thank you for your message and good luck with the new service. We will do our best to give you the timely and direct feedback that you need.

      Moaz for TRANSIT

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