Tag Archives: Ipoh

Meanwhile in Ipoh…After a few missteps on public transport Ipoh Council begins a move forward

TRANSIT took note of this news from Ipoh, where Ipoh City Council is looking to reorganize and improve its focus on public transport services. As is typical we see bluster and calls for enforcement but little about the structural problems within the public transport industry.

Ipoh Council to ensure public service vehicles are better organized (The Star, 22 April 2014)
Ipoh Council to ensure public service vehicles are better organised


THE Ipoh City Council has been given the green light to enforce the Land Public Transport Act 2010 to ensure a properly managed public transport system in the city.

Continue reading Meanwhile in Ipoh…After a few missteps on public transport Ipoh Council begins a move forward


Updates #88 – our most prosperous update ever!

Updates #88 – our most prosperous update ever

1. Article: Lounge around in a Rapid bus (The Star, 3 June 2011) – RapidPenang introduces RapidMobile, a “lounge” with a Blaupunkt Stereo system.

State-of-the-art sound system: Blaupunkt logistics and regional distribution director Hafiz Abidin showing Sandhu the functions and features of the company's New York 800 mobile entertainment system which has been installed in Rapid Mobile. Image courtesy of The Star.

[TRANSIT: You have to admire their creativity.]

2. Article: CURTAINS DOWN (NST 31 May 2011) – an update on the upcoming closure (at the end of June 2011) of KTM railway stations at Tg. Pagar and Bukit Timah in Singapore – with two excellent photos!
Continue reading Updates #88 – our most prosperous update ever!

Ipoh Station Hotel to close down after 76 years (Update #2)

  • More interesting letters on Railway heritage – including one on the living heritage of one of our most interesting rail services!
  • Update: On a similar note, Vishnu Kumar Visavanathan of Petaling Jaya wrote this letter, Preserve old railway lines for the future, which laments the loss of our railway heritage through modernization and lack of interest!

TRANSIT was sad to learn that the Ipoh Station Hotel will close down after 76 years of operation.

The Station Hotel opened with the Ipoh Station (the ‘Taj Mahal of Ipoh’) in 1935

No more hotel at Taj Mahal of Ipoh (The Star)
Friday March 11, 2011


IPOH: The Majestic Station Hotel, located within the Ipoh Railway Station here, is closing down after 76 years.

A favourite: The 76-year-old Majestic Station Hotel. The building, which has a British Raj-style facade, was often referred to as the Taj Mahal of Ipoh. The hotel will cease all operations by the end of the month. Image courtesy of The Star.

Opened in 1935, at the same time as the railway station, the hotel will house its last batch of guests today and will cease all operations by the end of the month.
Continue reading Ipoh Station Hotel to close down after 76 years (Update #2)

Updates #76

Updates #76

1. Article: Discover Ipoh by Bike after a short train ride from KL (The Star) – Sam Cheong writes of a trip to Ipoh using ETS and a folding bicycle.

Comfortable: The ETS coaches are spacious and luxurious. Image courtesy of The Star.


Group photo: The folding bike cyclists at Ipoh’s Garden Villa. Image courtesy of The Star.

Continue reading Updates #76

Updates #73

Updates #73

1. Article: Integrated public transportation within a year: DPM (NST) – Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yasin took his trip on the Klang Valley public transport system and claimed that the public transport system can be integrated within a year.

Deputy PM Muhyiddin on an Ampang Line (STAR) LRT train. Beside him is a token OKU as well as the Minister of Transport Kong Cho Ha. Picture courtesy of NST.

Continue reading Updates #73

Updates #62

Updates #62

1. Article: Peak-hour wait time on Kelana Jaya Line LRT reduced by 28% (The Star) – Prasarana has increased the frequency of trains on the Kelana Jaya line during the morning peak hours to 2 minutes and 37 seconds (or 197 seconds).

TRANSIT: Good for Prasarana- now let’s look into coupling the 2-carriage trains into 4-carriage units and reducing the frequency to below 2 minutes / 160 seconds – which is where it should be!

(For those who are wondering, the “claim to fame” of Bombardier’s Advanced Rapid Transit technology as well as most “LRT” projects that are really “mini-metro” is that they have higher frequency to make up for their lower capacity as compared to MRT – but the truth is that many MRT lines have very high frequencies – Toronto, for example, runs at 180 seconds (2 minutes, 2o seconds)

2. Letter: Bad driving habits and inaction are main causes (The Star) – Very Concerned German of Melaka comments on the sorry state of the bus industry and the recent Genting bus crash.
Continue reading Updates #62

Updates #58

Updates #58

1. Article: Spotlight on Trams: Penang (Edinburgh Guardian) – Malaysian blogger Anil Netto writes about the history of tram service in Penang and the effort by some campaigners to bring the tram back to Penang.

TRANSIT: As nice as the tram campaign is, one really has to ask what has been accomplished beyond calling for trams. People need to understand that the solution is not to bring back “the tram” – it is to bring back a reliable public transport network that includes regular transit and rapid transit. If we can bring in Light Rail lines (trams that operate on their own right of way outside the city centre, but on the roads inside the city centre), so much the better!

2. Article: Waiting for the Bus (Ipoh Echo) – the early September issue of Ipoh Echo comments on the lack of improvement in Ipoh bus services, despite the promises of “Combined Bus Services” aka “Perak Transit” and the opportunity arising from the arrival of regular diesel shuttle trains and ETS trains.

TRANSIT: Simply put, a city that cannot make buses work does not deserve an LRT system. Maybe we need the people of RapidPenang to step in and make public transport work in Ipoh.

3. Article: An unfair deal? (The Sun) – Journalists express their concern about the details of the deal which will have the Unilever lands in Bangsar (prime lands on an 8ha site currently worth RM400 million sold of for a fraction of their full worth.

The Unilever lands are owned by the Railway Assets Corporation – and KTMB may only receive RM50 million for the sale!

The article is also profiled by blogger Anil Netto.

TRANSIT: Despite all the talk about improving public transport, it seems that no one really wants to see real money in the hands of operators like KTMB or real authority (and the power to make real changes) in the hands of the operators and local governments.

4. Article: Penang monorail test track not materialising just yet (The Edge) – The Edge Financial Daily reports on the status of the proposed test tracks for monorails in Penang.

Last October, the Penang State Government had given no-obligation letters of approval to two companies interested in building monorails in Penang. The companies were allowed to build test tracks within 1 year, which they could use to demonstrate their monorail technology. The state government would, however, retain control over the land and would be under no obligation to purchase the technology.

TRANSIT: The funny thing is that, despite the approval, nothing has actually been constructed – and time is running out. Or maybe the companies really had nothing to offer in the first place?

5. Article: Over 1,500 extra parking bays for Brickfields soon (Streets-NST) – self explanatory
6. Letter: Locked in while bus stopped to top up gas (The Star) – Casey of Shah Alam complains that passengers were locked inside a Transnasional bus for 30 minutes while the bus was refueling!
TRANSIT: Can SPAD please take action and help to stop the insanity?!?!
7. Article: ERL timetable during weekends changed without notice (Malay Mail) – Soon of Shah Alam complained about the KLIA Transit service schedule being changed without notice on a recent weekend.
According to ERL, the change to combined services (separate KLIA Express and Transit services temporarily replaced by one Transit service) was for repairs at the Salak Tinggi station and they placed clear, informative signage at KL Sentral and KLIA stations (but not the intermediate stations, Bandar Tasik Selatan, Putrajaya Sentral and Salak Tinggi, for some reason).

An LRT for Ipoh???? (Update#1)

Updated with links to Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh website!

Recently, TRANSIT took note of this article which discussed a proposal for an LRT line to be constructed in Ipoh. We sort of “laughed it off” thinking that it could not be a serious proposal – given that Ipoh has a old, unreliable “system” of rattle-trap buses. But then this is Malaysia so who knows.

Cadangan bina LRT di Ipoh (Utusan)

IPOH 23 Julai – Penduduk bandar raya ini mungkin berpeluang menikmati perkhidmatan transit aliran ringan (LRT) seperti yang terdapat di Kuala Lumpur menjelang 2020 sekiranya cadangan mengenainya yang dimasukkan dalam Draf Rancangan Tempatan Ipoh 2020 menjadi kenyataan.

Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Kesihatan, Kerajaan Tempatan, Hal Ehwal Pengguna, Alam Sekitar, Pengangkutan dan Hal Ehwal Bukan Islam negeri, Datuk Dr. Mah Hang Soon berkata, mengikut cadangan, perkhidmatan LRT itu bakal menghubungkan Meru Raya dan Menglembu dengan pusat bandar raya.

Katanya, Station 18 di Pengkalan, Simpang Pulai dan Tanjung Rambutan merupakan antara lokasi lain yang dicadangkan untuk diwujudkan stesen LRT.

”Draf berkenaan kini dipamerkan di lobi Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (MBI) serta Jabatan Perancangan Bandar dan Desa Perak bermula hari ini hingga 22 Ogos dari pukul 9 pagi hingga 4 petang setiap hari.

”Kami menggalakkan orang ramai untuk datang melihat dan memberikan maklum balas, cadangan atau bantahan mengenai Draf Rancangan Tempatan Ipoh 2020 supaya ia memenuhi kehendak mereka apabila diluluskan oleh kerajaan kelak,” katanya.

Beliau menyatakan demikian kepada pemberita selepas melancarkan Program Seranta dan Penyertaan Awam Draf Rancangan Tempatan Ipoh 2020 yang turut dihadiri Datuk Bandar Ipoh, Datuk Roshidi Hashim di sini hari ini.

Draf tersebut disediakan sejak 2007 dengan Kerajaan Persekutuan dan kerajaan negeri masing-masing menyediakan peruntukan sebanyak RM1.2 juta dan RM212,000 bagi tujuan tersebut.

Mengulas lanjut, Hang Soon yang juga Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) Chenderiang berkata, pihaknya akan mengadakan siri jelajah untuk menunjukkan draf tersebut kepada warga bandar raya ini.

‘Orang ramai juga boleh melihat draf ini dengan mengakses laman web MBI di http://www.mbi.gov.my,” tambah beliau.

Beliau berkata, selain mewujudkan perkhidmatan LRT, cadangan pembinaan sebuah pusat pelupusan sampah seluas 224 hektar di Papan, dekat sini turut terdapat dalam draf berkenaan.

Untuk maklumat lanjut, warga kota boleh menghubungi Unit Perancangan Bandar MBI di talian 05-2083333 dan Jabatan Perancangan Bandar dan Desa di talian 05-5225780.


For further information or to file objections, please visit the following links:

Now, a look at the LRT proposal shows that the planners are looking into Transport Oriented Development (TOD) around the main stations and they have proposed two integrated transport terminals in Ipoh and Bandar Meru Raya. Unfortunately the Executive Summary gives no information about the justification for LRT – projected passenger demand, projected capacity, number of people who need to be moved, etc. – as opposed to another mode of rapid transit.

Just to show you why we are now a bit concerned, though… TRANSIT took note of this article in the Star newspaper today, in which a Gerakan representative comments on a proposal for an LRT line that is part of the Ipoh Draft Local Plan 2020 – the representative (like most people, we suppose) does not question the wisdom of spending money to build an LRT in a place that has no reliable, stable public transport network, but merely recommends that the planners figure out where the city centre is first.

Identify city centre first, says Gerakan (The Star)
Thursday August 19, 2010

IPOH: The state government must first identify where exactly the city centre is before implementing a light rail transit (LRT) service.

Perak Gerakan secretary See Tean Seng said the LRT service, proposed in the Ipoh Draft Local Plan 2020, lacked focus as the Ipoh City Council’s Town and Country Planning Department had failed to identify where Ipoh Central was.

TRANSIT: Er…who cares? We are surprised that See has questioned about the city centre (which is actually defined clearly in the draft plan) when he should be asking whether there is enough demand to justify the cost of LRT construction at RM250 million per km! Besides, we all know “Ipoh Sentral” would be at the Medan Kidd/Ipoh railway station. After all, no one would build a completely new railway station in the middle of a vibrant neighbourhood in the hope it would be successful — would they?

It was impossible, he said, to come up with any proposals before first deciding where the city centre was.

TRANSIT: How about deciding whether there is enough return to justify the investment?

In our opinion, the main business centre is now Greentown,” See told reporters here yesterday.

According to the draft plan, which is being displayed for public viewing until Sunday, the proposed LRT service would connect the city centre with Meru Raya, Menglembu, Station 18 in Pengkalan, Simpang Pulai and Tanjung Rambutan.


If you are an Ipoh resident, please plan your weekend around a viewing of the Draft Local Plan (can we assume that you have not done this already?) and do not forget to file your feedback/objections in the Objection Form. Public transport in Ipoh needs a lot more attention (especially in light of the arrival of the ETS service) but an LRT is not the solution that Ipoh needs (yet).

If you are interested though, check out TRANSIT’s proposal for transit corridors in the greater Ipoh area – and tell us where you think the public transport corridors would go (ideally) in Ipoh.

And just so you know, Ipoh’s main railway station and Medan Kidd bus terminal are going to be the “Ipoh Sentral” … but why stop there. There will be an Integrated Transport Terminal in Meru Raya and many developments projected for future LRT stations.

Maybe, if planned properly and appropriately, a new “rapid transit” system would bring life and economic activity back to Ipoh.

KTM Update: ETS to start 12 August?

TRANSIT has found out that the Electric Train Service (ETS) between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh is likely to start operations on 12 August 2010.

This will be exactly 15 years and 9 days since the first electric train service in Malaysia, the KTM Komuter, started operations (on 3 August 1995).

The main ticketing offices for the ETS as well as the “Railcafe” lounges will be located at the Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh railway stations. There will also be a ticketing office at KL Sentral railway station.

Image of the ETS Ticketing office and Rail Cafe at Kuala Lumpur railway station. Image courtesy of @TWK90.
ETS ticketing office at KL Sentral station near the Genting ticketing office. Image courtesy of @TWK90.

Type of service:
The ETS will operate two services – an Express service (in red on the route map below) stopping at a limited number of stations, and a Transit service (blue hexagon on the route map below) that stops at all stations between Rawang and Ipoh.

Route Map of future ETS Express (red) and Transit (blue) services
Route Map of future ETS Express (red) and Transit (blue) services. Image courtesy of TRANSIT

It is likely that the express service will operate using 1 or 2 trains and the transit service will operate using the remaining trains (out of the fleet of 5). What is not known is the effect of this service on the existing shuttle trains. KTM may also consider using the diesel shuttle trains for the Transit service and reserving the electric trains for Express service – this would allow them to offer a very frequent and reliable and smooth electric express service.

Service hours:
Trains will operate between 5 am and 11pm. We have no further details yet about the train timetable.

It is expected that the fare will be RM30-35 for the express service, with a lower fare for the Transit service. We at TRANSIT find this interesting, because the KLIA Express Rail Link also charges RM35 for a trip (whether Express or Transit) but the trip to KLIA is far shorter than the trip to Ipoh. We hope that the RM30-35 fare will allow KTM to make a reasonable return on the cost of the ETS operations.  And perhaps we should be seeing a reduction in the fare of the KLIA Express (or at least the KLIA transit) service.


Frankly, we think that it is wonderful that the ETS service is starting operations soon – of course, we would have been much happier if it started on 12 (or 31) August 2007 – which could have happened if the government had purchased the trains when the electrification and double tracking project was started.

The presence of the ETS will make a big difference almost right away. Since August 11 is the expected first day of Ramadan, public transport users will benefit from the ETS for travel to the towns between KL and Ipoh. Imagine the Balik Kampung period – it will take perhaps 3-4 hours for a trip by car between KL and Ipoh, while train service will take 2 hours or so.

We will share more details about the ETS as they become available. Until then, we are looking forward to the opening of the service and a positive future for KTMB and KTM passengers.

Now…what is going to be done about public transport service in Perak, especially Ipoh?

More information about Perak Transit

TRANSIT has been following the development of public transport in Perak, with the recent launching of PerakTransit.

We also note the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ipoh City Bus Terminal Cum Commercial And Business Centre Complex which took place earlier this week.

Newspaper ad showing the announcement of the groundbreaking ceremony for a new bus terminal in Ipoh

The interesting thing about this (aside for the horrible name) is that the state government is now expressing an interest in redeveloping the Medan Kidd bus terminal, located 200m from the Ipoh railway station, as the “Ipoh Sentral” station.

Those that are familiar with Ipoh public transport know how bus services have been moved about from terminal to terminal. The new terminal to be constructed in Bandar Meru Raya was introduced to us as “Ipoh Sentral”

Now it seems that the mood has changed. Perhaps the government was paying attention to TRANSIT’s proposal for the Kinta Valley?

From an NST article:

….He [Dr. Zambry Abd Kadir] said the [Perak] state government was also seeking assistance from the Federal Government to develop the Medan Kidd bus station and turn it into an Ipoh Sentral, similar to KL Sentral, as efforts to upgrade the public transport system in the state.

“We are looking at an integrated transportation hub which will include taxi stands, bus stations and the Ipoh railway station.

[TRANSIT: And how well has KL Sentral worked out? At least this version of Ipoh Sentral will be more integrated that KL Sentral.]

The Medan Kidd bus station is located about 200m from the railway station.

The land parcel between the bus station and the railway station belongs to several parties including bus operators, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad, Perak Malay Chamber of Commerce and Perak State Development Corporation.

“We have initiated discussions with all the parties and will need to have further talks before a final blueprint is made public,” he said, adding that KTMB had agreed to the idea.

On the Ipoh City Integrated Bus Terminal and Commercial Complex, he said the operators would provide inter-state and inter-city services, pointing out that the terminal would later be linked with the proposed Ipoh Sentral.

[TRANSIT: Again, we wonder if they have looked at our proposal]

Zambry said the state government was willing to provide subsidies to bus companies which were willing to ply routes to small towns which may have low passenger load.

[TRANSIT: You can do better than that. Use gross-cost contracts and packages that involve mainline and feeder routes. Don’t do all this ‘willing to provide if you are willing to provide’ nonsense. Issue expectations and take control!]

Meanwhile, The Combined Bus Services Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Hiew Yew Can said the company would acquire 250 new buses for RM112 million to ply the routes in the state.

Another interesting source of information about the proposals to improve public transport comes in this latest edition of KOSMO!

Memodenkan bas henti-henti talks about some of the existing problems with the bus service in Ipoh and compares the existing buses with the more modern buses offered by Perak Transit.

BAS baru milik CBS kelihatan moden dan ceria berbanding bas lama (gambar bawah). Gambar dari KOSMO!


Our comments above are pretty clear.

The main point that we wish to get across here is that it improving public transport is not just about buying new buses and building new terminals.

Yes, we appreciate the investments and the can-do attitude. But that same investment and can-do attitude brought us RapidKL and the bus graveyards and RM7bn in LRT extensions that may not really be necessary.

The minimal investment that was put into new buses for RapidPenang has paid off in far greater ways than the billions of RM pumped into Intrakota, Prasarana, and RapidKL because unlike the other companies, RapidPenang has the right attitude. It is small, creative, energetic, customer focused, and above all, it does not have any existing baggage!

That said…

We are continuously trying to find out more information about PerakTransit and the proposals for Ipoh – and hopefully, we will have the opportunity to present our thoughts and views to the government of Perak.

If you have more information about PerakTransit, the Combined Bus Services Sdn. Bhd., or the proposed Ipoh Sentral and Ipoh City terminals, please share this information by posting below or sending an email to TRANSIT at klangvalley.transit@gmail.com. Thank you.