This is the sentiment of many Penangites following the launch of Rapid Penang.
The now defunct Penang Yellow Bus Company stopped plying its hourly jetty-airport route on Aug 23, 2002, and the bus stop at the entrance to the airport itself was later removed. The nearest bus stop now is about 300m away.
Singapore Airlines customer sales agent Yazid Abdul Rashid said there should definitely be a bus service to the airport itself from George Town: “Not everybody can take a taxi. Some passengers who arrive here ask us where to take the bus.”
Ong Poh Chin, 26, who was returning from visiting relatives in Johor, said that if there was a public bus service passing Jelutong where she lived, she need not trouble her parents to pick her up from the airport.
A stall operator who declined to be named said a public bus service would be good for tourists and locals, as long as the buses were well maintained: “There were complaints of smelly exhaust smoke and leaked diesel in the past.”
Salesgirl Siti Fatimah Idris, 21, said she had been working at the airport for a year and her mother normally sent her to work and back.
“I live in Teluk Kumbar, and it would be more convenient for me if there was a public bus service from my home,” she said.
Travel agent Lim Soo Lip observed that it was not necessary for a public bus to the airport as many workers there had their own transport or were provided with transport.
Airport limousine driver Zaid Wan Chik said it would be inconvenient for travellers to use the public bus, as most of them would have a lot of luggage.
Malaysia Airports Bhd (MAB) senior airport manager Abdul Wahab Mohd Yusof said they received complaints through the years from passengers who said they should be given a choice whether to travel by bus or use the airport’s taxi and limousine service.
“The previous operator stopped the service because it was not profitable,” he said, adding that he would bring up the suggestion to the state government for Rapid Penang to provide the alternative transport.
RapidKL chief operating officer Mohd Ali Mohd Nor said Rapid Penang had also received such feedback but it would have to discuss the matter with the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (LPKP) and the state authorities to see if there were any complications.
“We have two routes passing Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah at the bus stop near the airport, and we have no hesitation to stop at the airport itself if that service is needed,” he said.