COMMUTERS from Wangsa Maju, Hulu Kelang, Keramat, Ampang and Pandan can now save time waiting for buses and travelling to Kuala Lumpur city centre.
With the introduction of Rapid KL's Area 3 bus network which commences tomorrow, city folk will only have to wait for 15 minutes for a local shuttle and switch to a trunk bus that runs at a 10-minute frequency to link to the five city hubs - KL Sentral, Titiwangsa, Medan Pasar, Maluri and KLCC.
From the hubs, they can take a city shuttle, with a 5-minute frequency, to get to their final destination.
At a press conference held on April 24 at Rapid KL's headquarters in Petaling Jaya, Rapid KL chief operating officer (bus operations) Mohd Ali Mohd Nor said Rapid KL had added the Air Panas route to the existing 27 routes in Area 3, which has a population of 2.4 million people.
Out of the 28 routes, 25 are local shuttle services and three are dedicated trunk lines. All in all, there are now 134 buses (40 for trunk lines) compared with the previous fleet of 90 buses.
Commuters can try the new bus services for free from April 30 to May 2. The free rides are applicable for local shuttles, trunk bus services and city shuttles.
Mohd Ali said previously, the area was not well serviced but Rapid KL had connected local and trunk bus routes to the Rapid KL light rail transit stations like Wangsa Maju, Setiawangsa, Keramat, Ampang, Pandan Indah, Maluri, Cempaka and KLCC.
From April 30 onwards, the old bus route numbers will cease and will be replaced by new ones, he said, adding that the Putraline feeder buses would also be replaced by the local shuttle service.
When we launched the Area 2 bus network in the middle of March, we were worried that the public would not be able to understand the system.
We are now about four weeks into the launch and we have seen a greater use of the services in Area 2, he said.
Area 2 covers Rawang, Kepong, Selayang, Gombak and Batu Caves. Rapid KL will introduce similar services in other parts of the Klang Valley like Cheras, Kajang, Bangi, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Dengkil, Puchong, Subang Jaya, Jalan Kelang Lama, Seri Petaling, Shah Alam, Damansara and Petaling Jaya.
On the provision of bus hubs, Mohd Ali said Rapid KL was working closely with local authorities and SPNB (Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd).
SPNB and Rapid KL have appointed a consultant and we are coming up with the design. Building such bus stops will take a bit of time but we are working hard to get it done as soon as possible, he said.
To address complaints of bus drivers who skip certain routes, he said incentives given to drivers were no longer based on the number of passengers.
We are stricter with our drivers. We have already had a number of disciplinary cases where their services were terminated as they were not following instructions, he said.
He added that Rapid KL was developing a global tracking system to keep tabs of its buses so that the drivers would not deviate from their routes.
He said Rapid KL was also talking to Monorail, ERL and KTM operators over issues like integration of the public transportation hubs and had plans to work with other bus operators to ensure a more efficient transport system in the Klang Valley.
Rapid KL is 100% owned and set up by the Government to come up with a solution to the public transport system.
As for now, they (other bus operators) will be running on their own. We will be in discussions with the bus operators and Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board and it is not our intent to go our own way, he said.
To help the public to understand the new system, Rapid KL staff will be answering queries at information counters to be set up at Giant Hulu Kelang, AU3 Jentayu, Ampang Point, Sri Nilam and LRT stations at Wangsa Maju, KLCC, Maluri and Titiwangsa, from tomorrow until May 2.
Local shuttle day fare is priced at RM1, trunk lines at RM2 and city shuttle at RM2. From May 3 onwards, the RM7 Ultimate Day Pass for the new network will be available for frequent bus and LRT commuters. The Ultimate Day Pass is priced at RM6 for senior citizens and school-going children.