THE first few days of Rapid KL’s new bus system for Area Four (Cheras, Sungai Besi, Balakong, Seri Kembangan, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Serdang, Bangi, Kajang and Hulu Langat) proved chaotic for bus commuters as they tried to digest new routes, new bus numbers and a totally new system.
Area Four saw the introduction of four trunk lines –
Rapid KL initiated free bus rides (July 1 to 3) for all bus service in Area Four, as an effort to get feedback from passengers regarding the system.
Star Metro too decided to try the new routes and discover what it had to offer.
We decided to wait for a shuttle bus at The Star office at Precinct 9 to take us to Putrajaya Sentral (Putrajaya Western Transport Terminal) in Precinct 7.
However, after glancing at our watches many times over and watching several Nadi Putra buses (the other shuttle service in Putrajaya) pass by, we realised 45 minutes had passed and there were no Rapid KL buses coming our way.
So we got into our cars and drove to Putrajaya Sentral to find out what we were doing wrong.
We arrived at 11.35am at Putrajaya Sentral and found that the shuttle did not pass The Star office; instead we had to walk 10 minutes to another location in Precinct 9 to board the 427.
At Putrajaya Sentral, we decided to head to Kajang.
We boarded the T42 at 12.15pm after some confusion as another T42 bus had broken down.
The T42 is a trunk line differentiated by its blue marking.
If you want to get to Kuala Lumpur, Cheras, Bangi, Kajang, Hulu Langat, Serdang, Seri Kembangan, Sungai Besi, Balakong and Putrajaya, this is the bus you board.
It travels on Lebuhraya Silikon to the Serdang Hospital and stops at KTM Serdang, its final destination before heading back to Putrajaya.
Here’s the bad news because you need to get off the bus and board a T41 if you’re headed to Kuala Lumpur or get on a shuttle bus (414) to the Cheras/ Kajang Highway where you catch the T40 (trunk line) to Kajang.
There are several shuttle buses (green board) from UPM/ Taman Sri Serdang, Bandar Putra Permai, Taman Sri Pulai, Taman Desa Serdang, Taman Universiti Indah, Seri Kembangan that arrive at KTM Serdang.
The 414 from Bandar Sungai Long, UTAR, Cheras Perdana, Tanming Jaya and The Mines also makes its way to the KTM Serdang stop.
Previously, passengers hopped onto one direct Rapid KL bus to Kuala Lumpur from housing estates and towns, so it is understandable if the new system caused some confusion.
At KTM Serdang, we waited for about five minutes before boarding the 414 (green board bus), which greeted us with a horribly stuffy atmosphere as the air-conditioner had gone bust – it was an older bus compared to the new T42 we had just left.
We looked out for the Veterinar stop on the map and asked the bus driver to stop us there, just in case we missed it.
We were surprised when the driver stopped by the highway, in front of seemingly nowhere.
He advised us to put out our hands to hail the T40 (blue board bus).
There was only a small bus sign sticking out of the sidewalk.
It didn’t take too long for the T40 to come along and here we met confused passenger, Wan Hanim Wan Omar, 18, who was on her way home to Taman Cuepacs, Kajang.
She said she was unsure how to get to Taman Cuepacs as there was no indication which bus travelled there.
“I used to travel on a direct bus to Kuala Lumpur but now it has all changed and I’m very confused,” she said, adding that the Rapid KL staff on board were unsure where she should get off.
Passengers Mohamad Uwaiz and Nasrath Begum from India, who were on their way to Kajang, said it was confusing as there were several transit stops to get from Putrajaya to Kajang.
However, student Chong Zhi Yong, 17, was pleased to know he could expect a Rapid KL shuttle at Bandar Sungai Long every 15 minutes.
“It is so much easier now as the buses that used to come into Bandar Sungai Long were not frequent,” Chong said.
It took 15 minutes to the Kajang Bus Terminal and here; we got onto another T40 to head into the city.
We met 68-year-old Madam Wong who had wanted to go home to Pandan Indah but had got on the wrong bus and ended up in Kajang.
Luckily for her, it was a free ride.
Madam Wong said she had tried out the free service two days in a row and had gotten onto the wrong bus on both days.
When the T40 reached the Taman Segar transit, Leong Chwee Chan, 65, started pouring out her frustrations as she had waited for more than two hours for a shuttle out of Taman Len Seng.
“I waited for the 406 for two hours and out of frustration, I hopped on to a Metro bus instead.
“The Rapid KL staff said there were not enough buses, hence the long wait.
“I would rather board a Metro bus,” an upset Leong said.
At the Maluri transit, Lucy Cheah, who is in her fifties, said the new Rapid KL service was a blessing.
“I work in Serdang so previously I left my house as early as 6.15am to catch the bus, change buses and get to work on time.
“In the process of walking to the bus stop, I have been a victim of snatch thieves eight times. Now with the frequency of Rapid KL buses, I am able to leave home at 7am when it is brighter, board a Rapid KL bus and catch a train to Serdang,” she said.
We took the 114 (red board bus) to the KLCC and waited for a bus to Medan Pasar.
The city shuttle (red board) is expected to frequent bus stops every five minutes but we waited 20 minutes for the 105 to Medan Pasar.
At Medan Pasar, we waited another 20 minutes for a 110 to KL Sentral where we would take the E1 (new Rapid KL express service) back to Putrajaya.
The E1 (orange board) is a direct bus service, with no stops and it cost RM4 a day for a ride to Putrajaya and back.
Passengers can take the E1 at Jalan Tun Sambanthan, outside KL Sentral.
The E1 eliminates the hassle of changing buses at transit stops and is definitely an ideal option for passengers heading in and out of Putrajaya to Kuala Lumpur.
The next day, we boarded the T43 (blue board bus) from 1 Utama to Putrajaya, which took approximately one hour, and it does not have many stops.
At Putrajaya Sentral, we waited for the 427 (green board bus) that offered some scenic views and later we tried the 426, which did the tour around most of the government offices.
However, if you intend to go to Alamanda Putrajaya, neither one of these buses head in that direction, so it is better to get on a Nadi Putra service.
To get to Kuala Lumpur, we boarded the T42 from Putrajaya Sentral, got off at KTM Serdang and boarded the T41 that travels on the Besraya Highway.
The T41 makes three transit stops - Razak Mansion, Chan Sow Lin LRT and Maluri.
At Maluri, we hopped onto a 111 to Medan Pasar, which cost RM2 and then made our way to locate the 21C at Kota Raya to head back to 1 Utama.
The trunk line service (blue board buses) cost RM2 a day, shuttle service (green board buses) RM1 and city shuttle (red board buses) RM2 a day.
Passengers are advised to hold on to their tickets as these tickets can be used throughout the day.
So, if you are travelling from Precinct 9, Putrajaya to KLCC, the entire ride will cost RM5, to and fro.
The express service (E1) costs only RM4 from Putrajaya to KL Sentral (Jalan Tun Sambanthan) and back.
It is also advisable for passengers to get hold of a leaflet on the routes, to know which bus to take to your destination and don't feel shy to ask any Rapid KL staff, they are there to help the public.
It was not surprising that we felt a headache coming on, after all that hopping on and off buses, as there was just too much travelling involved.
So, it is best to try out the bus service at your leisure and digest what the system is all about, one day at a time since a bus ride to Putrajaya is not going to take 25 minutes.
We found out, that it can be troublesome to change buses instead of taking a direct bus into the city while others count their blessings.