COMMUTERS travelling by bus between Kuala Selangor and Klang are frustrated with the service provided by City Liner as buses are arriving up to four hours late.
Chronic, long-standing maintenance problems and frequent breakdowns are said to be the main causes.
Senior citizens, workers and Kuala Selangor residents who do not have cars or motorbikes have no choice but to use the bus to get to Klang.
Ooi Sam Chee, 63, who travels each month to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital from Kuala Selangor, said the problem had worsened since December 2012.
“Once, I waited for four hours. There is no schedule and it is very difficult to wait and not know when it will show up,” Ooi said with much dissatisfaction.
Media organiser Parameswary Selladurai, 38, also complained about how the erratic bus service was affecting the commuters going to work.
She used to work in Kuala Lumpur but had to give up her job at a media firm as she found it difficult to get to her appointments on time.
“Worse still, one bus would be late and it would be packed with foreign workers rushing to get on it. Others are left stranded and forced to wait another three hours for the next bus,” she said.
Parameswary, a mother of one, said she had to resign “as it was not professional to go to work late”.
“From January to November 2012, City Liner buses from Kuala Selangor were efficient with one bus arriving every 15 minutes from 5.30am until 11am.
“But the service deteriorated from December 2012, with three to four buses serving Route 156, the route between Kuala Selangor and Klang,” she said.
Parameswary, who opted to work in Klang, said she might be forced for the second time to quit her job with a Tamil newspaper firm if the bus problem continued.
“I cannot take the taxi as it is not metered and the charge is a flat rate of RM70 from Kuala Selangor,” she said.
Advertisement coordinator M. Yogalingam, 47, who travelled between Kuala Selangor and Klang daily said he was forced to wait at the Jalan Malawati bus station in Kuala Selangor for hours to get the bus to Klang.
“At times, the bus breaks down en route to Klang and passengers are forced to board another bus.
“Regular passengers with a monthly pass, lose out when the City Liner bus does not turn up, as they have to fork out extra to board another firm’s bus that uses a longer route,” he added.
Yogalingam said in the evening it was another ordeal as those going to Kuala Selangor from Klang would have to wait at least two hours to board a bus.
“Sometimes, the bus driver will not stop in Jeram, Kuala Selangor because the driver knows he cannot take on any more passengers as it is packed,” he added.
Meanwhile, teacher K. Punithan, 49, said the City Liner bus problem was not just in Kuala Selangor but affected the route between Banting and Klang, which is referred to as Route 127.
“Only two buses operate on this route and this is unreasonable.
“Commuters have to wait two hours to get a bus from Banting to Klang.
“We don’t have alternative buses as one firm monopolises the route,” he said.
He added that the bus air-condition did not work and most windows were stuck.
“Most of the times, passengers push open the roof hatch to encourage ventilation as it is hot.
“Once, a senior citizen fainted. While the passengers were trying to help her, the driver ignored the incident,” he alleged.
A station master who did not want to be named said anger was simmering among the passengers from Kuala Selangor, Klang and Banting including bus drivers over the failing bus service.
He added the drivers were struggling to maintain service under impossible circumstances.
“In 2012, we used to have at least eight buses from Klang to Kuala Selangor and 10 buses from Kuala Selangor to Klang. But now, only three buses ply Route 156 both ways. It is difficult,” said the station master, who is known to locals as Tarzan.
He added that buses that broke down were kept at the depot in Shah Alam and not repaired.
“Most buses spotted on the road are unfit, with only one headlight working, poor brake control and no first-aid kit aboard.
“I hope the Land Public Transportation Commission (SPAD) will step in to resolve this matter,” he said.
Klang Consumer Association (KCA) president Devadass Anjan said the poor service for bus routes 156 and 127 affected people and productivity.
Klang Municipal Council Corporate Communications director Norfiza Mahfiz said the council had been informed of the problems faced by City Liner and would call for a meeting with the firm.
“Our Engineering Department in charge of transportation will meet up with SPAD, which had approved the permit for City Liner to provide a service without interruptions.
“MPK’s role is to ensure the public transport runs in an efficient manner in the Klang district.
“We will resolve this matter and invite KCA to attend the meeting soon,” Norfiza added.