The new Rapid KL bus network in Cheras which began operations on July 1 is more of a bane than a boon to commuters it services, checks at the transit stations revealed.
Most of the commuters, met at the Taman Maluri and Taman Segar transit stations last Tuesday and Wednesday, did not like the new arrangement that required them to switch buses.
Under the new arrangements, those commuting into the city from Cheras housing estates and some that fall under Ampang constituency, or vice versa, will have to take three buses.
First, commuters have to take the local shuttle service that charges RM1 per day (housing estates to Taman Segar transit), then trunk service (Taman Segar to Taman Maluri transit) where they are required to pay RM2 and finally city shuttle to go to town at a fare of RM2. They can opt to buy a comprehensive ticket for all three services at RM4,
Previously, one bus takes them all the way to their destinations.
“I used to be able to just hop on the 572 or 838 buses to get to my house in Taman Sundex from Kuala Lumpur or other places along Jalan Cheras.
“Now, from KL, I need to take bus 111 or 113 at Medan Pasar to Taman Maluri transit, then bus 403 to Taman Segar transit and finally wait for 412 to go back home,” said retiree Nancy Lee, 60, who was waiting at the Taman Segar transit station.
“It is very difficult for senior citizens. The steps onto the bus are very high for us, and often we are carrying a lot of things,” she said.
At the Taman Maluri transit station at noon, housewives Kam Chee Ling, 55, Wong Yoke Keng, 66, worker Jaya Mani, 55, retiree Chong Teck Soon, 58, and several other senior citizens said they faced the same problem, in spite of paying a higher fare.
Kam said Rapid KL should not make it so inconvenient for commuters as many of them lacked the stamina to switch and wait for buses, adding that she had waited for almost 30 minutes for the 402 to Taman Midah.
“I often go to Jalan Pudu from my house in Taman Midah to do some work. Last time I took 122 and it cost me only RM1. Now, I need to take two buses, and pay RM2 and RM1 for each ride,” said Wong,
She pointed out that although the RM4 day pass entitled them to unlimited rides on the buses, they did not need to make so many trips.
Among those interviewed, a small number welcomed the new network, that includes new route 403 that services residents in Cheras Utama area and route 404 to Taman Cheras Hartamas.
Clinic assistant Susilah Devi, 30, said she was happy that the bus plied between Giant Hypermarket at Connaught Highway and Leisure Mall in Taman Segar.
“There are more buses now. They are more punctual, I can gauge what time roughly they come so I don't have to wait for close to one hour like before,” she said.