IMAGINE pleasant-looking and well-equipped hubs for bus drivers, complete with a rest area as well as other necessary facilities. No need for detours to restaurants or petrol stations for breaks.
Instead, the bus drivers could optimise their short rest time in between shifts to re-energise themselves before making another trip to serve passengers.
Such facilities that benefit both bus drivers and daily commuters, are something that Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana) — the asset owners of RapidKL bus services — have been aspiring for many years to build.
“We have identified the locations and prepared the plans to install the kiosks for quite some time now,” said Prasarana infrastructure development division group director Amiruddin Ma’aris in a press statement.
“Personally, I dislike these wooden shacks and the umbrella-style hubs or kiosks for drivers.
“It is not the look and image that we want to give of the public bus service.
“The hubs should be modern, hygienic, pleasant-looking and practical for the bus drivers.
“The sight of shabby wooden shacks and umbrella kiosks do not only affect the image of RapidKL, but also of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya as vibrant cities.
“Unfortunately, until we receive the approval to install these proper kiosks, we have to allow the shacks and umbrella kiosks to exist.
“If we had the approval, we would replace them immediately,” added Amiruddin, who is also CEO of Prasarana Integrated Management and Engineering Services Sdn Bhd (Prime), a Prasarana subsidiary responsible for the management and execution of the group’s infrastructure projects.
Prasarana had submitted applications, many of them as early as 2010, to various local authorities to install 25 bus kiosks in the Klang Valley for RapidKL’s bus operations, said Amiruddin.
“To-date, we have only managed to set up the bus kiosks in Taman Jasa Utama in Selayang and Taman Melawati.
“We are continuing our discussions with the relevant authorities and hope they will approve our applications now that the plight of the bus drivers and our customers has received the attention from the media as well as the people’s representatives,” he said.
StarMetro recently ran a front-page story titled “Restless Break,” which highlighted the plight of bus drivers in the Klang Valley who have to work long hours because of a shortage of drivers and who also face a lack of facilities at their break stops.
“Our mission is to have all the kiosks in place by the end of the year.
“No doubt, there are challenges, but they can be resolved in the interest of the rakyat,” said Amiruddin.
He hopes the relevant authorities can assist in expediting the approval to install the bus kiosks as the applications have been endorsed by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).
While the designs for some kiosks may differ to suit the locality, the proposed kiosks, which include prayer rooms and rest areas for bus drivers, are all portable and can be relocated as and when required.
Prasarana has assured that these kiosks, which will be managed and maintained by the company, will not have an adverse effects on traffic flow as the buses will only stop during specified times.
Amiruddin elaborated that the proposed locations for these kiosks were identified following traffic and feasibility studies by Prime.
“The project cost, including electricity and telecommunications supply and charges, will be fully borne by Prasarana.
“In addition to serving bus drivers, the facilities can also be used by our traffic regulators and controllers to ensure our buses operate according to schedule.
“The kiosks can also serve as an information and inquiry counter for our customers,” he added.