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Thursday May 21, 2009

Steps to improve KL transport service

EFFORTS are being made to improve the public transportation service in Kuala Lumpur, with immediate measures to upgrade the Puduraya bus station with a RM30.3mil allocation, a freeze on new taxi permits and round-the-clock efforts to nab touts.

For a long-term solution, the Bandar Tasik Selatan bus terminal, initially planned as the terminal for south-bound buses, may be expanded to replace the Puduraya, Hentian Putra (East Cost) and Pekeliling bus stations, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, under whose jurisdiction the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CLVB) comes.

Puduraya would remain as the city bus terminal once outstation buses shifted their base to Bandar Tasik Selatan.

Nazri, together with Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and Federal Territories Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, visited the Puduraya bus station and held a dialogue with bus operators at Federal Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

Raja Nong Chik also said a proposal would be submitted to Nazri for an integrated approach to be adopted in improving the public transport system.

Checking on counter services: (From right) Nazri, Raja Nong Chik and Ahmad Husni Mohd visiting a Transnasional bus counter at the Puduraya bus station.

After listening to the grouses of the bus operators, Nazri promised to look into the plight of the city bus operators as he was of the view that government subsidiaries should not compete with private companies providing bus services.

Bus operators had complained that it was not a level playing field as RapidKL received funding from the government.

Nazri also did not rule out the possibility of the current bus oper­ators taking over from RapidKL.

On taxi services, Nazri said issuance of new taxi permits would be frozen immediately as he did not want foreign workers, instead of locals, as taxi drivers.

“I feel that taxi and bus drivers should be trained by government-run driving schools to increase their professionalism, like those in Japan and Germany,” he added.

On the issue of touts, Nazri said City Hall enforcement officers would be out to nab them round the clock.

“Once caught, their permits would be revoked,” he said.

Ahmad Husni would also be discussing with banks the problems bus operators faced in securing loans, and with Bank Negara Malaysia, the difficulties they faced in purchasing insurance.

He said Puduraya would undergo a facelift in three phases — immediate, short- and long-term — when all bus ticket counters would be relocated from the existing ground floor to the first floor and the food stalls from the ground floor to the fourth floor.

The Puduraya station would also be disabled-friendly after the upgrading work, he said, adding that the upgrading was being carried out for the comfort of bus and taxi operators, passengers and stall owners.

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