LONG waiting times, unsafe locations of bus stops and lack of service at a major tourist spot are some of the public complaints about the Smart Selangor free bus service plying the Sepang route.
Norizan Ahmad, 53, said the 60-minute interval between buses was too long a wait.
He refers to the SPG 3 route, beginning at Taman Seroja, passing through Jenderam in Dengkil and ending in Cyberjaya.
“When commuters have to wait too long for the bus, they will choose to take their own transport. My wife, an office cleaner who used to rely on the bus service, got fed up of the wait and has since learnt to ride a motorcycle to get to work,” he said.
Norizan said authorities should realise that higher frequency would encourage more people to use the service and lessen the traffic congestion on Jalan Dengkil-Putrajaya, which was worsening by the day.
Regular bus commuter Zatty Azyyaty Mohd Azmin, 17, said it would be good if the frequency was increased.
She finishes school at 1.40pm. The bus does not arrive till 2.15pm. This leaves Zatty with a 35-minute wait. For safety, she sits out the first half of her wait at the school canteen before walking out to the bus stop.
At the moment, the timetable for SPG 3 has a two-hour gap between the fourth and fifth trips on the route.
Residents also highlighted the Taman Mawar stop located opposite the junction turning into the Salak Perdana Business Park as a risky spot. Bus users say there have been cases of lorries overturning near the bus stop and they fear that one may crash into the stand one day.
Meanwhile, residents in Kampung Bagan Lalang are hoping for authorities to consider a feeder bus service to ply the village.
At the moment, the nearest bus stop is the Taman Sepang Putra stop on the main road. From here, it is a five-kilometre walk to the beach beside the village.
Muhammad Arif Azrai, 27, who runs a chalet rental service in Kampung Bagan Lalang, said no ride-hailing services were available here.
“Visitors have no problem getting to the location, but they find it hard to get transport out of the area. Most of the time, our guests come to us for help to find transport, so we call our friends or neighbours to give them a ride out,” he said.
He hopes the problem of lack of public transport can be resolved in time for Visit Sepang Year 2020 to cope with the influx of visitors.
When contacted, Selangor Local Government, Public Transport and New Village Development Committee chairman Ng Sze Han said he would instruct Sepang Municipal Council (MPSepang) to investigate the complaints.
MPSepang is responsible for the planning of bus routes based on feedback from residents, elected representatives and approval from the Land Public Transport Agency.
“Sepang is big but the population density is still low. This is reflected in the ridership numbers along the free routes, which makes it difficult to increase coverage,” said Ng.
The cost of running a bus on each route is RM800 a day.
MPSepang Corporate Unit and Public Relations director Norrehan Amat Kasman said there were 10 buses plying four routes in Sepang.
In total, the buses travel 327km daily.
The routes only cover main roads and do not extend into villages or housing estates.
Regarding bus stops in risky spots, Norrehan said the council’s planning and building departments were in the process of studying those locations.
He added that MPSepang was open to suggestions from residents and advised them to forward their complaints to the council’s online portal at aduan.mpsepang.gov.my
Regular commuter Muhd Nor Rahman Ramlan,15, has a tip for those who plan to use the free bus service frequently.
“Study the timetable,” said the teenager who uses the free bus service three times a week to attend hockey practice in SMK Dengkil from his home in Jenderam Hilir.
A copy of the bus timetable is available at www.mpsepang.gov.my/jadual-perjalanan-bas-smart-selangor-mpsepang-terbaru/