Ramping up ridership for free bus service

Zailani and Norhayati discussing Smart Selangor free bus routes in Klang.

KLANG Municipal Council (MPK) aims to ramp up ridership for the Smart Selangor free bus service within its administrative area.

Its Urban Town Planning Department director Zailani Panot said they were eager to restore confidence in taking public transport.

“A great number of B40 commuters are using motorcycles but this contributes to more traffic and carbon footprint.

“We understand that some are reluctant to use buses because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“But if they follow the standard operating procedure by wearing a face mask and practise physical distancing, there should be no problem, ” he added.

Zailani said in 2019, there were 1,904,810 rides on all four routes but the figure dipped to 848,938 last year due to the impact of the coronavirus, movement control order and work-from-home directive.

A total shutdown of all four routes in April last year also contributed to the drop in numbers.

“In January this year we saw 36,958 passengers on all four routes. Usage has plummeted but as restrictions have lifted, offices are allowing their staff to return to their workplace and many are opting to use free buses because of financial constraints, ” he said.

Department’s public transport unit urban planner Norhayati Mohd Ladzim said disinfection was carried out throughout the buses with a solution of diluted bleach daily while high touchpoint surfaces were cleaned regularly.

“Increased cleaning efforts are carried out at bus stops too to build confidence among commuters.

“But, we also advise people to wash their hands upon reaching their workplace and have a bath once at home, ” she said.

MPK has a total of 14 buses for all four routes.

KLG1, the first free bus service that began in 2016, covers 15.6km from Jalan Batu Tiga Lama to Jalan Pos Baru with 23 stops.

KLG2, which began in 2018, covers 12.3km from Jalan Batu Tiga Lama to Jalan Meru with 18 stops.

KLG3 covers 23.2km from Sri Andalas commercial area to SJK(T) Simpang Lima while KLG4 covers 23.6km from Klang Sentral to Taman Meru Selatan.

Good frequency with arrivals every 15 minutes as well as the availability of the Selangor Intelligent Transport System (SITS) app to check on estimated arrival time, nearest bus stop, bus schedule and bus route contributed to higher usage of Klang’s Smart Selangor buses.

Zailani said the council’s objective was to enable more Klang folk to easily access the free service.

“We view the free bus service as a catalyst to revive certain commercial areas and boost domestic tourism.

“Other than the SITS app, free WiFi is also provided while CCTV cameras boost commuters’ confidence in using the service, ” he said.

Norhayati added that some adjustments had been done to the KLG2B route to enable easier access for commuters.

“Our aim is to help students use free transport. The free bus is also for those going to the market and senior citizens heading to the government hospital.

“Senior citizens have requested for a stop at the Bukit Kuda government clinic and we have obliged, ” she said.

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