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.
4. Article: Main complaint: Express buses (Malay Mail, 29 March 2011) – Over 80% of the 3362 complaints received by SPAD since January relate to express buses. In a linked article, the President of the Pan-Malaysian Bus Operators’ Association (PMBOA) says that bus operators should be required by the government to post driver information inside the bus.
[TRANSIT: Sigh, Ashfar you are the president of the Association. Set an example by getting the big companies to do so. Then, tell the public to only use ‘reputable’ bus companies that inform the public. You’re a businessman. Why do you always want to wait for a government decree to take positive action???]
5. Letter: Sort out driver issue and all will fall in place (The Star, 31 March 2011) – Zamri Mahmud writes that the complaints about express bus drivers (described above) are likely because of their behaviour & resolution will come through increased enforcement & better training (funded & organized through the LPTC).
[TRANSIT: Yes…and no. There are more issues than simply ‘attitude’ and those issues have been well-documented. We do agree that there is a need for public transport-focused training for operators & drivers.]
7. Article: Public bus services in Manjung to be upgraded (The Star, 31 March 2011) – THE Perak government will spend RM4.32mil over the next five years (RM72,000 monthly) to revive public bus services in the Manjung district. New services (managed by a private company) are expected to begin next month.
8. Article: Residents express fear over LRT routes (The Star, 31 March 2011) – Residents of Putra Heights and Taman Subang Alam, have continued to express their concerns over the proposed LRT extension route near their areas. The issue was also mentioned in the Selangor Times.
TRANSIT noted this interesting article about the renewed activity at the Ipoh Railway Station, in the days leading up to the arrival of Electric Train Services (ETS) – tentatively scheduled for “mid-month” in July 2010.
We will excuse Mr. Sivaji’s tendency to speculate on the nature of the service and the tickets – perhaps he is displaying a level of confidence in KTMB that others do not have – or maybe the editing of his written copy was a bit selective.
IPOH: The Ipoh Railway Station, known as the Taj Mahal of Ipoh, is once again abuzz with activity with the [upcoming] introduction of the Electric Train Service (ETS).
“We are glad. The train service has indirectly improved our daily earnings,” said taxi driver Ahmad Kassim.
The resurgence of the station is mainly because of the increase in the number of people using the rail service to travel to and from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Butterworth, Penang.
The train tickets are affordable, and the new coaches are comfortable with improved service.
[TRANSIT: Since when were the fares announced? And since when has the service started? Oh wait, perhaps this reporter has come back from the future?]
“Nowadays, I prefer to take the train to get to Kuala Lumpur as it is convenient to get off at KL Sentral and get on with my chores,” said Karam Singh, who goes to the city frequently to see his children who are working there.
He said although the journey by train was slightly longer than by bus, it was more comfortable.
The scenic view of the countryside one enjoys along the way more than makes up for the extra travelling time, added Karam.
He has also noticed that there are many students and working adults opting to travel by train.
“Travellers can get off at Tanjong Malim, Sungkai, Kampar or Tapah Road along the journey,” he added.
He also welcomed the recent announcement by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) president Dr Aminuddin Adnan that the travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh would be reduced to just two hours.
The new service is expected to be launched by mid-month.
[TRANSIT: See – the reporter must have come back from the future! In our time, the comfortable service with the affordable tickets has not started yet!]
“With a speed of 140kph, ETS will reduce travel time and stewards and stewardesses will also provide comfort to travellers,” said Aminuddin.
KTMB plans to have five ETS trains to provide eight return trips for the Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh route daily.
The maximum capacity for each ETS train is 350 passengers per trip. — By V. Sivaji
Like many others, we are clearly looking forward to the arrival of ETS between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh station. It will be a wonderful contrast to see modern electric trains serving two classically designed railway stations which showcase the age of train travel.
Unfortunately, while KTMB rockets to the future, Ipoh public transport will still be largely stuck in the past.
The irony is that the KL-Ipoh double tracking and electrification was completed in mid-2007 and shuttle trains have been running between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh since 2008 – but there has been no noticeable improvements to public transport in Ipoh or connections to the Ipoh railway station.
The Perak Transit service does not count, since it is a new intercity bus service, not an urban bus service connecting to the Ipoh Railway Station.
Perhaps in Ipoh, time really does stand still. We at TRANSIT would prefer to see real investment in public transport in the state of Perak, especially in the Greater Ipoh area. See our proposal for a bus rapid transit network for Ipoh here.
In case you were wondering, the “traveling to the future” reference is connected to the 25th anniversary of the popular film “Back to the Future” which gave Michael J. Fox a career.
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.
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”
….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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
The recent controversy about comments by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd. Nazri Aziz about taxi service in KL being ranked worse than Malaysia’s dirty toilets is an interesting controversy and deserves attention.
But this post is not about that issue.
TRANSIT noted an interesting picture in this article from the Star & Bernama
We know nothing about Perak Transit except that it is a service 0perated by Combined Bus Services Sdn. Bhd., a consortium of operators in Perak.
We know Combined Bus Service Sdn. Bhd. was discussed a number of times on our website, especially in relation to the proposed Ipoh Sentral Transport Hub, but we have not been able to find much information about the services they will offer. We do not know their business address, phone number, email address, website (assuming they have any of the above) and need to find this information as soon as possible.
Perak residents, please share as much information as you can about the Perak Transit service including photos and route information, flyers etc.
And for those of you who are interested, please see the following comments and articles about public transport in Ipoh: