IT HAS been a month since residents of Taman Garing Utama in Rawang and its surrounding areas had a public bus service.
Calling for the services to resume, the affected residents gathered with placards at the Taman Garing Utama bus stop last Saturday.
On April 15 last year, bus service by the same bus operator, Setara Jaya Sdn Bhd, was disrupted and resumed later after much pressure from the commuters and community leaders.
About 1,000 commuters were using the 16-year-old mini bus service in Taman Garing, Desa Garing Utama, Garing Utama, Taman Garing Permai, Kampung Kuala Garing Selatan, Taman Sri Rawang and Taman Garing Jaya.
Residents, including schoolchildren at the affected housing estates, now have to walk between 2km and 4km to the Jalan Rawang-Batu Arang main road to catch a bus.
Sivarajah Munusamy, 55, who lives in Taman Garing Utama, said he had complained to the Rawang assemblyman’s office since March 8 but had yet to receive any news.
“It has been a month since the bus service was disrupted and resident here are suffering because they have to take a taxi that costs between RM15 and RM20 to get to town.
“Many residents here are old folk and they do not have a steady income. It is very difficult for us to fork out so much money for transportation. I hope something is done soon,’’ he said.
Taman Garing Utama residents’ association chairman Md Shorkri Md Arshad, 50, said many retirees living in the area had used the bus service.
He said when in operation, the first bus arrived at 6.30am and the last bus was at 8.20pm, and that on weekends the bus was always full.
“We were given information that the bus operator was losing money on the route to our residential area,’’ he claimed.
Shorkri added that he also received information that the bus driver had been issuing tickets to only a handful of commuters while foreigners and schoolchildren were not given tickets.
Siti Khadijah, 51, said her daughter Nur Alia M. Sharif, 16, commuted at least five times a week to school.
“With this disrupted service, she has to walk to school, take a taxi or hitch a ride with neighbours.
“I plead to the authorities to give us back our bus service,’’ she said.
A resident for 10 years, Chian Yoke Cham, 60, said the taxi fare to Rawang town was RM15 each time she had to go for her regular medical check-up or to the market.
“It is expensive as I live alone. If there is an emergency, we are stranded here,’’ she said.
Selayang MCA Youth chief Chan Wun Hoong said he would discuss the matter with the bus operator.
He said most of the people living in the area were low-income earners and the bus service was vital.
Selayang MIC division chairman M.B. Raja said the people’s welfare and interest was more important than profits and the matter should be looked into.
“I feel for the people as they have been suffering for the last month. Most of them do not have a car or motorcycle and fully rely on public transport to move around.
“When there is an emergency, it can be fatal,’’ he said.
Setara Jaya Sdn Bhd operations manager H.S. Nik said the company was going through a process where it had to buy GPS devices and insurance for each bus as required by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), and this was costing them a lot of money.
“We are trying our level best to ensure the services resume.
“Besides, the route to Taman Garing Utama and its surrounding is a community service route for us. We do it as part of our social responsibility.
“We received complaints from commuters that bus drivers were pocketing the money but we have no evidence. We will check on it,’’ he added.