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Wednesday August 12, 2009

Shah Alam bus terminal plan still on

VARIOUS efforts have been taken to improve the public transport system. Yet somehow, for most Shah Alam residents, their hope for having such a system is almost like wishful thinking.

“Everybody is aware of the benefits of taking public transportation. It helps (preserve) the environment, saves money and reduces traffic congestion. But the system is so unreliable here in Shah Alam,” said Mohd Amin Ismail.

He claimed that the lack of reliable buses and taxis in the capital city of Selangor had forced him to drive a car.

High-tech features: An artist’s impression of the new bus terminal to be built in U1 Shah Alam.

The 35-year-old said he wasted a lot of time travelling between his house in Klang and his workplace in Shah Alam when he was commuting by bus even though his house is only a few kilometres away from Shah Alam.

“My wife had to use the car as she has to travel to Putrajaya, so I thought I could use the public transport.

“It was so frustrating and in less than a month I started looking for my own car,” said the father of two.

He added that it did not help that most of the taxi drivers in Shah Alam did not use meters and would quote a fixed rate instead.

With the escalating price of fuel and toll rates, most residents agreed that they would use the public transport only if it was convenient. To most, using their own transportation seems to be the only choice.

Earmarked: The site where the new bus terminal will be located.

“There has been a lot of talk before this about improving the system.

“There was even a plan to build an integrated bus terminal for the residents in Shah Alam. But I do not know what happened to it,” said Azhar Abdul Rahman, a Section 16 resident.

Currently, Shah Alam residents can use the inter-city and express bus services (mostly for East Coast-bound passengers) at Section 17.

The City Centre station which is located behind the Maybank building, opposite the Wisma MBSA, caters for the city buses.

At the same time passengers can also wait for the buses in front of Kompleks PKNS.

Soon to go: The temporary bus terminal in Section 17 will cease operations once the new bus terminal in U1 is completed.

For now, residents can heave a sigh of relief as plans to build a new bus terminal complex to replace the existing Section 17 terminal is still on.

When asked, Shah Alam mayor Mazalan Md Noor said, “We are going ahead with the plan to build the terminal.

Mazalan said the plan for the terminal, located at U1, near the old Batu Tiga Police Station, had been submitted to the state government and was still waiting for the final decision.

Once the approval is received then the project could resume, he said, adding that the project would be completed in two years.

The bus terminal complex will be constructed in stages. The first phase is estimated to cost about RM20mil. Under the first phase, 45 bays (for the buses) would be provided for bus companies to operate in the complex.

The three-storey complex would also be equipped with ticketing counters, retail and food outlets on the first floor. Car park and drop off points are located on the second floor.

The second phase will include pedestrian crossing from the terminal to the Komuter Station situated across the Federal Highway.

The site was picked since it is located near the Stadium Shah Alam and the indoor stadium.

The location is also easily accessible from the Federal Highway and the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE).

With the opening of the terminal, the express buses do not have to enter the city centre, thus traffic congestion will be averted.

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