Commuters pleased with upgraded bus terminal


The upgrading project of Sungai Nibong Terminal (TSN)worth RM7mil which began in August 2021, was fully completed last month. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

Commuters in Penang are delighted at being able to use services offered at the newly upgraded Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal (TSN).

Regular commuter Chum Soon Choi, 60, who has been taking buses at the terminal for over a decade, said the facility represented another milestone for Penang in achieving user-friendly public transport.

“The eticket system is more convenient for commuters, compared to how we were previously being harassed by ulat tiket (ticket touts),” he said.

Waiting area at the bus terminal.Waiting area at the bus terminal.

Chum, a storekeeper, said the waiting areas, improved seating and information displays were now more user-friendly too and helpful to commuters.

However, he said TSN could be further improved with the installation of air-conditioning in the terminal’s waiting areas.

“It is quite hot now. Installing good air-conditioners will make it more comfortable for commuters,” he said.

Marketing executive Syaira Bahari, 25, from Kuala Lumpur, said she was impressed with the upgraded TSN and the noticeable improvements.

H’ng trying the new ticketing system at the improved transportation hub in Sungai Nibong. With him is Batu Uban assemblyman A. Kumaresan (second left).H’ng trying the new ticketing system at the improved transportation hub in Sungai Nibong. With him is Batu Uban assemblyman A. Kumaresan (second left).

“It’s spacious now. It is well-lit at night too, and has become a comfortable place for commuters to wait for buses,” she said.

However, she said the new terminal should have more eateries to give commuters greater options.

The bus terminal’s upgrading project cost RM7mil. Work began in August 2021 and was completed last month.

Launched by state local government committee chairman Jason H’ng Moon Lye, the building is owned by Penang Island City Council (MBPP).

Upgrading of Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal costing RM7mil began in August 2021. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The StarUpgrading of Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal costing RM7mil began in August 2021. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

The project was a collaboration between terminal management Easybook (M) Sdn Bhd, UDA Holdings Bhd and agencies under Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Development Ministry.

H’ng said the bus terminal was popular with Penang residents and tourists looking to travel to destinations throughout peninsular Malaysia.

“It is estimated that 1,000 people use the terminal daily to access bus services, and the number triples during festive seasons,” he said in his speech.

He praised MBPP and Easybook for the successful collaboration, and commended them on the project’s completion despite various challenges, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic recovery phase.

Easybook has been operating the bus terminal since 2021 and has management rights for a three-year period until this August.

H’ng said that during this period, Easybook was tasked with upgrading and constructing additional terminal buildings.

Syaira says there are noticeable improvements to the bus terminal, making it now a comfortable place for commuters.Syaira says there are noticeable improvements to the bus terminal, making it now a comfortable place for commuters.

He said the company was responsible for TSN’s fee collection, management, operational supervision, cleanliness and security systems, adding that he hoped Easybook could improve the commuter experience.

Easybook is the largest integrated and online ticketing operator in the country, encompassing the majority of express bus operators.

The company also manages operations at Kota Kinabalu Sentral and Tawau Terminal in Sabah, Sungai Petani Terminal in Kedah, Tun Aminah Terminal in Johor and several other bus and ferry terminals across Asean.

Additionally, Easybook handles terminal and ticketing system operations for land and water transport in several locations abroad.

Easybook chief executive officer and founder William Lee said the company secured the tender for upgrading and managing TSN in 2020.

The upgrade included equipping the terminal, originally built in 2004, with the most modern systems and applications, he said.

This comprised the Easybook Terminal Management System (ETM) that included Centralised Ticketing System (CTS), Terminal Operating System (TOS) and Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) modules as implemented by the Land Public Transport Agency (Apad), said Lee.

Chum says the upgrade represents another milestone in Penang achieving user-friendly public transport.Chum says the upgrade represents another milestone in Penang achieving user-friendly public transport.

“The terminal’s original development cost was RM6.2mil, covering the development of systems and building upgrades.

“However, the total cost of the TSN upgrade reached RM7mil and the project was completed in April,” he said.

The increase was due to the rising cost of construction materials and additional works, such as the provision of five- star-standard restrooms, new floor tiles, tar and interlocking stone roads and replacement of all cables and pipes, he elaborated.

“The cost of the ETM system was RM3mil, with other expenses totalling RM4mil,” Lee added.

UDA Group Asset Management chief operating officer Azrudyn Rashid said TSN would be part of the light rail transit (LRT) system, which was still in its early stages, specifically in soil investigation and finalising its alignment.

In the latest report released by Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp), the alignment will begin from Penang Sentral on the mainland to Macallum, the proposed first station on Penang island.

From Macallum, it will pass by Komtar, through Jalan Gurdwara, Solok Sungai Pinang, Sungai Pinang and Jelutong Timur all the way to Silicon Island.

Two proposed stations – Bandar Sri Pinang and Sky Cab – along Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway, which were seen in the original plan, have since been omitted.

On March 29, Transport Minister Anthony Loke announced that the Federal Government officially took over the Penang LRT Mutiara Line project from the state government, with MRT Corp appointed as developer and asset owner.

Procurement of the project is divided into three main components: civil construction works for Segment 1 which is the alignment of Silicon Island to Komtar; works for civil construction for Segment 2 which is the line from Komtar to Penang Sentral; and a turnkey contract for system and carriage (coach) works.

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