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Monday February 9, 2009

Boycott turns transport hub into a ghost town

EXPRESS bus operators disappointed by the poor business at the Klang Sentral transport hub have stepped up the pressure by organising a boycott of the terminal.

Besides holding a demonstration, the operators have also decided not to use the designated bays at Terminal A of the hub. Instead, they are picking up and dropping off passengers from the roads around the hub.

A visit to the site showed that the hub at Jalan Meru, which was opened on Dec 27, was almost a ghost town with the bays almost totally empty.

Empty seats: There were hardly any passengers waiting to board.

Terminal B, which is supposed to cater to Klang-Kuala Lumpur buses, was also quiet and very few passengers could be seen. However, buses were parked at the bays.

The scene was a total contrast to the former site at the North Klang bus terminal, which used to be a hive of activity with hundreds of buses and thousands of commuters crowding the terminal every day.

Most of the shops and stalls, including the food court located at the Terminal A complex, were not opened due to poor business.

Shira Express bus operations manager Suhaizam Md Shah said the company had 17 buses that provided services from Johor Baru to Haatyai.

He said business had dropped by more than 70% and he hardly had 10 passengers for each trip.

“We have decided not to use the terminal in order to escape the RM10 per trip charge that we have to pay every time our buses enter the terminal,’’ he said, adding that they had also paid a deposit of RM4,000 for using the bay.

Seranas Travel and Tours managing director Ho Chui Sing said the company had experienced a sharp drop in business.

All quiet: The food court is also emtpy with many of the stalls not open.

He said their buses used to be packed on almost every trip when the company operated from Lorong Kepayang at the North Klang terminal.

“Commuters find it more convenient to go to the express bus terminal at Section 17 in Shah Alam from Klang rather than going to Klang Sentral which is 11km away from the town,

“We are keeping our fingers crossed and hope that the commuters will slowly start using this hub,’’ he said.

A stall operator who only identified himself as Ismail said he had temporarily closed his lot at the food court on the first floor after operating for more than a month.

“I cannot afford to run the business without customers,’’ he said, adding that all the stalls at the area were not opened.

Norsiah Yusof, who sells drinks and snacks from two stalls at the Terminal B, said she had been operating for only five days and the business was very slow.

She said the rental for each of the stalls was RM2,300 and her average collection per day was only RM60.

“The authorities must make this work or else it will defeat the purpose of shifting the transport hub here,’’ she said.

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