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Tuesday August 4, 2009

Service ‘not up to mark’

RAPID Penang is the only public bus company in the state practising the non-lease system but its standard is now no different from ones who lease the heavy vehicles.

Penang DAP Socialist Youth (Dapsy) secretary Ng Wei Aik has hit out at Rapid Penang for insisting on a price hike when the service provided was not up to mark.

“We conducted a survey revealing that 53.9% out of 76 passengers polled rated the service as ‘average’ while 10.5% were unhappy and a total of 60.5% said the buses would sometimes arrive late.

“Instead of taking this feedback to improve their service, Rapid Penang did not give serious attention to the matter and choose to instead to blame the lack of enforcement at the Komtar main bus interchange terminal,” he said, adding that the company was more interested in making a profit than offering a proper service.

“Instead of improving the service, Rapid Penang is still insisting on increasing their fares despite unsatisfactory service that is no better than the pajak (lease) buses,” he said.

Ng, who is also Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s political secretary and Komtar assemblyman, added that enforcement at the Komtar interchange was under the purview of the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB).

“It is the CVLB that is responsible for addressing the problem of other private bus operators encroaching into Rapid Penang lanes. Blaming the encroachment for interrupting the time schedules of Rapid Penang’s other routes is baseless because many of those who participated in the survey were waiting for the bus at the Komtar interchange – not at other bus stops,” he said.

Ng however added that the state would do its part in improving the interchange facility soon.

“The plot of land where the interchange is belongs to the Penang Municipal Council but the council has to apply for a court order to gazette the area for public use before it can manage the place.

“The council also needs to pay off the balance of money owed to the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) for building the infrastructure before we can improve the facility,” he said, adding that this was another problem “inherited” from the previous administration.

On Saturday, Rapid Penang Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Azhar Ahmad ticked off Dapsy for “barking up the wrong tree’’ and instead channel its efforts on tightening enforcement at the Komtar bus interchange to ensure the smooth running of buses there.

The company earlier said the new fares — between 40 sen and RM1, were in line with the Federal Government’s decision to raise bus fares.

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