The absence of a public bus service in Bandar Saujana Putra, Kuala Langat, Selangor, has made life miserable for residents, in particular those from the B40 group.
“Some people suggested to opt for e-hailing rides or to buy a car or motorcycle.
“But not everyone can afford such luxuries, ” said Radha Samuthiram.
The mother of two, who works as a nurse at an eye clinic in Petaling Jaya, said with a monthly salary of RM2,000, it was not possible for her to spend RM15 to RM20 a day on e-hailing rides just to get to the Putra Heights LRT station to commute to work from her house in Jalan SP4.
For people like Radha, e-hailing rides are affordable on occasions but as a daily transportation cost, it will take up to 20% of her salary.
That is not including the additional fares she has to pay to and from the Taman Jaya LRT stop and her workplace in Section 1, Petaling Jaya.
The only cost-effective solution available to Radha is to wake up at 4.30am every day to hitch a ride from her husband when he drives to work.
When she reaches her workplace at 7am, she sleeps till it is time to open the clinic.
Resident Saravanakumar Nilamgham said the lack of a bus service meant he had to walk 5km from his home to Putra Heights LRT station every morning.
Saravanakumar, who lost his previous job as an operations manager during the movement control order period, said he had no other choice as he would rather forego expenditure on e-hailing fares to pay for his children’s school bus fees.
“I lost 25kg in three months from all that walking, ” said Saravanakumar, who had to wake up at 4am daily to make the one-and-a-half-hour journey to his new job as a welfare worker in Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya.
He said the lack of public transport had far-reaching consequences on a community.
“It limits movement. It is difficult for residents to even go to supermarkets.
“The youth may miss out on chances to join extra-curricular activities, ” he pointed out.
Krishnavani Sinnamuthu, who is single, knows this situation too well.
A cleaner by profession, she lives with her sister Shamala Devi who moved here in 2009.
“Though my sister has a car and I can hitch a ride from her to go to work every day, I cannot impose on her goodwill every time.
“She may be busy.
“If I want to go out to meet my friends, it is also awkward for me to ask her for a ride if she is not invited, ” said Krishnavani.
She added that the cost of e-hailing rides was too much of a burden as she earned no more than RM1,200 a month.
Before she could afford her car, Shamala, who also works as a cleaner, admitted that she too suffered due to the absence of a public bus service after moving here in 2009.
“My children had to live with my mother in Kajang because it was difficult for them to go to school or shopping complexes to meet their friends.
“So, the lack of public transport was one reason why I missed out on a great part of their growing years, ” added Shamala.
Resident Shanti Ramnaidu, who works part-time at a fast-food restaurant, said she started cycling to work.
It is a 30-minute bicycle ride from Jalan SP4 to Jalan SP5. Before this, she used to walk, which took longer.
Apart from the lack of public transport, Bandar Saujana Putra is also known for its traffic congestion.
During rush hour, it is not uncommon to see schoolchildren being transferred from car to motorcycle in the middle of the road so that they can reach school on time or make it back home earlier.
The snarling congestion, which often involves heavy vehicles, is causing Shanti’s family to worry for her safety.
She is a mother of two and her children are aged seven and five.
Saujana Putra MIC division head Kumaran Subramaniam said Nadiputra used to provide a bus service — T706 — from the township to the Putra Heights LRT station from 2017 until the announcement of the movement control order in March.
“Residents only realised in April that the bus service was no longer in operation.
“We contacted Nadiputra and was told that as it was no longer receiving funding to operate out of Putrajaya, so it had ceased operations to this area, ” he said.
From the 50,000 voters registered in SP1 to SP10, he said an estimated 40% of the total population were from the B40 group.
“In SP4, where the Desa Saujana affordable apartments are located, there are 18 blocks housing some 1,800 units and many of its residents do not have their own transport as they are from out of town, ” said Kumaran.
As residents in certain parts of Selangor were provided free bus service, he asked why Bandar Saujana Putra residents were deprived of such a basic public facility.
“We are not asking for a free bus service. We are willing to pay the fare.
“All we are asking is for bus service to resume here so that residents can make their daily commutes to school and work, ” Kumaran reiterated.