THE gates of the Bus Rapid Transit system in Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya, were barely open on the first day of operation on Tuesday, when the first passenger boarded the bus at 6am.
Before the staff could recover from the shock, more passengers joined the queue for their first ride on the elevated bus service operated by Prasarana Malaysia Berhad.
The company had to increase the frequency from eight minutes interval to six, to cope with the large crowd by 11am.
Friends T.B. Oh, 62, and V.C. Lim, 68, were shopping in Mydin USJ 1 when they spotted the bunting announcing a two-month complimentary ride for the BRT-Sunway Line.
“We hopped onto the bus to try out the service. It definitely helps people like us (retirees) a lot,” said Oh.
Lim said once the LRT extension line is completed, it would be easier for him to travel from his home in Petaling Jaya to visit Oh in Subang.
BRT-Sunway Line uses an elevated guideway that connects the Sunway commercial area to Setia Jaya KTM Komuter station and the soon-to-be completed USJ 7 LRT station.
Oh and Lim usually take turns to drive but they think the BRT-Sunway Line will be a better alternative.
Another senior citizen on the bus, Wong Kim Loong, 68, also praised the new service and efficiency of the staff.
The Subang Jaya resident was happy that the service enabled ease of travel to other public transportation modes such as KTM Komuter.
Although the fare had not been determined by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), he believed it would be affordable.
Also spotted in the environmentally friendly electric bus was a family of eight taking a joy ride.
Siti Sarah Azalan, 19, from USJ 6 said she and her family were keen to explore Bandar Sunway using the bus.
“We usually frequent the shops and Sunway Pyramid. Now instead of driving our car, we will definitely opt for the bus since it is more convenient,” said Siti.
She said getting to the commercial area was troublesome because of traffic congestion but the dedicated elevated track made travelling smooth.
The student also praised the use of environmentally friendly buses.
As most were keen to check out the bus and its facilities, Sunway Medical Centre staff Tan Lee Leng, 36, was already mapping out a possible route for her to take to work.
Tan, who lives in Taman Paramount, said she planned to use the bus service in the future once the LRT station 7 was completed.
“I would probably park at the Taman Paramount LRT station, hop on to the train to the upcoming USJ 7 LRT station and catch the BRT to Sunway Medical Centre,” she added.
Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh congratulated the Prasarana team on completing the project three weeks ahead of schedule.
Yeoh urged the student population in USJ to use the BRT line and reduce cars on the road especially along Persiaran Kewajipan.
“I have tried it out and the bus ride is very comfortable, scenic and calming because there is no jam,” she added.
Yeoh said it was estimated that 3,000 cars from Klang use Persiaran Kewajipan every morning from the Kesas highway.
She also said there were some 6,000 students at the Monash University and another 17,000 from the Taylors Lakeside Campus where the BRT Sun U-Monash station was located.
Prasarana senior vice-president for communications Azhar Ghazali said public response had been encouraging.
“We will monitor the crowd to determine the frequency but for now we will have a four-minute interval during the peak hours from 6am to 9am and 4.30pm to 8.30pm,” he added.
For non-peak hours, the waiting period will be eight minutes while weekends will be six minutes throughout the day.
Launched on Monday by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the country’s first elevated BRT-Sunway runs a 5.4km route from 6am to midnight.
The zero-emission buses have a travelling speed of between 30kph and 40kph, and can operate for 12 hours before the next charging cycle.
The line has seven stations with one park-and-ride facility, some 1,153 parking bays including 102 bays reserved for women, 23 lots for the disabled and 121 bays for motorcycles.
The RM634mil project is a Public-Private Partnership initiative between Prasarana Malaysia Berhad and Sunway Berhad.
Also present during the launch were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Prasarana Malaysia Berhad chairman Tan Sri Ismail Adam and Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah.
During the launch, the BRT-Sunway line was also recognised by Malaysia Book of Records as the first Bus Rapid Transit System in the country, the First Electric Bus Transit System as well as the First Elevated Bus Pathway.