TRANSIT took note of this article in The Malay Mail with an excellent photo of a banner placed at a bus stop in Desa Petaling in the hope of reminding drivers that they should not park their cars at the bus stop.
Ironically, the person who brought this to the attention of The Malay Mail was complaining about service on RapidKL’s U48 bus – and apparently does not like the banner either:
“It is bad enough that the U48 bus service from Desa Petaling to Bukit Bintang is poor but to endure this unprofessional-looking banner above my head while waiting?“
[TRANSIT: We don’t know what to say about that. Perhaps the unprofessional-looking banner would not be necessary if people would not park in front of the bus stop – not to mention, if the professionals (Prasarana and the local authorities) were a bit more proactive about preventing other vehicles from parking at bus stops.]
Anyways, here is the article plus response from Prasarana:
It’s not a car-stop (The Malay Mail)Delays, faulty coin machines and a banner that says all about bus hubReena RajThursday, July 7th, 2011
JEFF WONG knows public transportation in the city is tough but he has never thought it would come to this.
“It is bad enough that the U48 bus service from Desa Petaling to Bukit Bintang is poor but to endure this unprofessional-looking banner above my head while waiting?”
[TRANSIT: We certainly hope the banner is not the worst of his problems.Too bad the professionals do not seem to be interested in doing their jobs.]
On top of that, he says, the RapidKL card system is not working well and the machine does not always accept all coins.
He says that at noon on June 5, he saw three buses at the Desa Petaling station. One was supposed to depart at 12.10pm but was delayed for 10 minutes because a passenger could not work the machine.
Both passenger and driver tried but after some time, the driver gave up and told the passenger to board the next bus.
[TRANSIT: The driver should have let the passenger board for free as the problem will have to be seen as RapidKL’s problem. After all, it is their bus, and their card system and their machine; therefore, it is their problem.]
JEFF says the hold-up explains why it is so hard for him to board a bus from Salak South, after returning from the city, to go home to Desa Petaling each day: there is no station master to coordinate the buses’ movement.
“Every day, I would wait for my next bus at the KTM Salak South station from 7pm. With unnecessary hold-ups, it is no wonder that sometimes a bus to Desa Petaling would only arrive at 8.15pm.”
He says the 20-minute bus interval is not too bad in the mornings, but come afternoon, longer delays are a sure thing.
[TRANSIT: Do you notice how Air Asia flights and KTM & LRT trains are more reliable in the morning as compared to the evening/night? It is because delays accumulate over the daytime period.
Why do delays accumulate? Because of bad line management!]
JEFF wants Prasarana, the operator of RapidKL, to clarify all his grouses.
ON the banner, SYARIKAT PRASARANA NEGARA BERHAD (Prasarana) bus division group director Datuk Mohamed Hazlan Mohamed Hussain says it was not put up by RapidKL but other parties concerned about cars parked at the bus stop.
On the card system, he says: “We have taken all necessary measures to minimise problems due to the implementation of the new bus ticketing system. We regret any inconvenience caused to JEFF.”
On the June 5 incident, Mohamed Hazlan says the station master was on a break after working from 5.30am. He clarifies that U48 buses are scheduled to arrive every 20 minutes.
On the delays, he says: “Buses are delayed in the afternoons because of the traffic congestion in the Golden Triangle area, especially along Jalan Pudu, as there is road construction taking place.
“We plan to increase the number of buses along this route in July.”
Ah that banner really does say it all, doesn’t it? Or perhaps it is Jeff’s complaint that really says it all. Here a third-party has chosen to take the initiative to remind people (politely) to be courteous – but to Jeff it is inconvenient.
Mohamed Hazlan’s response does not really address the issue of line management and the problems that are faced by Jeff (and other riders of U48 – and riders of other bus routes of course) on a daily basis.
TRANSIT recalls on period where we would be woken up daily with an SMS saying that the first bus on a certain route was not coming to the stop at it’s proper start time for the day – causing problems for the early risers. This despite RapidKL’s promise to offer reliable early services to help passengers beat the jam.
It is unfortunate that RapidKL clearly has not been able to resolve their issues with line management after more than 6 years of operations. If a supervisor needs a break, (and they are entitled to a reasonable break) there should be someone to replace him. If buses are delayed by congestion in KL, then more buses should be inserted into the route at strategic points.
RapidKL should be able to know where each and every one of their buses is, at all times. They do not need any fancy GPS software as there are many companies that can track the signal from a handphone (for example) to within 100meters. After all, it seems to us that most bus drivers have handphones (after all we’ve heard so many reports of drivers talking on a handphone – sometimes two – while driving).
Delays accumulate because of bad line management, and bad line management occurs when there are problems with the management itself. Those problems will not be resolved by having more buses.
So why doesn’t RapidKL’s management get with the program and figure out its line management problems and improve service after 6 years? Perhaps it is because they do not know how. Perhaps it is because they do not have the resources.
Worst of all, perhaps it is because they do not want to.