Complaints of the bus companies serving only profitable routes are growing.
MP for Senai Datuk Lim Si Cheng cited
the case of a bus commuter from
Damansara Utama taking more than two
hours to reach Puduraya.
“He had to wait a long time for the
bus. The trip to the city centre took
about the same time as the journey to
Johor Baru, where the commuter wanted to
go,'' Lim told the Dewan Rakyat last
Among the many commuters who called or
wrote in to The Star were Jill Ling of
Taman Megah in Petaling Jaya and her seven friends.
“The economic downturn has been tough
on wage-earners, but over the past three
weeks our quality of life has been going downhill because of the bus service.
“Through no fault of ours, we have had
to wake up earlier to get to work and it
takes longer to return home.
“What used to be a 45-minute journey
now takes almost two hours,'' wrote
Ling, who takes the No.28 Intrakota bus
Noting the hours of unproductivity spent waiting for a bus, she fears the consequences of turning up late for work.
Ling and friends had erroneously
addressed a copy of the letter to
the Transport Ministry. It is not the
Transport Ministry but the Entrepreneur Development Ministry that is responsible for the issuing of permits to bus and taxi operators.
The purview of the Commercial Vehicles
Licensing Board comes under minister
Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, and the board has the power to issue or revoke the
licenses of bus and taxi
Mustapa is aware of the grouses of city
folk and has issued several warnings to the
two bus companies.
Fed up with bearing the brunt of public
anger, Intrakota complained that it has
been losing RM2.5mil a month.
At one point, its managing director Mohyee Wardy pointed out that Intrakota was not a welfare body.
Commuters cannot deny that the concept
of bringing in Intrakota was a good
move. Its air-conditioned buses and well-dressed drivers made travelling more pleasant.
But it has some short-comings,
especially frequency. Its big buses
can take 100 passengers each compared to 30 for a mini-bus but the
mini-buses had better frequency.
Still, companies which have taken over public service-oriented jobs must be prepared for criticism from the people.
Privatisation was introduced to improve
efficiency but if these companies cannot
perform, then they are not offering
>From the outset, they should accept the fact that profitability is not always possible in some areas.
Cross-subsidy will have to be part of
the package, as in the case of
developers who reluctantly build
For Intrakota, it means it cannot refuse
to service routes which it perceives as
less profitable. Its duties are crucial because it services the nation's capital.
Although there are two other bus
companies in the Klang Valley, Intrakota and Park May have bigger stakes.
These bus operators cannot claim that
they were not given enough time to
prepare for the phasing out of
One way out of this rot is competition. If necessary, more bus permits should
be given out.
At the same time, enforcement has to be
stepped up. Laws and warnings come to
nought if they are merely for
The light rail transport is part of the
city's plan to improve public
transportation but with the economic slowdown, there are fears that the project may be delayed.
The fastest and cheapest option at this
point is bus transportation.
With thousands of local and foreign tourists converging on Kuala Lumpur for the Commonwealth Games, the last impression we want to give is bad service.
All companies, big or small, must learn
to be efficient and remember that they
exist because of the customer.
The king of the road should not be the
big business which controls the city
buses but Joe Rakyat who pays for the