THE Petaling Jaya Old Town bus terminal was once a bustling transportation hub that comprised six lanes for buses serving the surrounding residents travelling to all over the Klang Valley.
Today, the terminal, which has been in existence since the 1970s, provides shelter for the homeless, is used as an illegal carpark during the day and is a main stop for only one Rapid KL route which is Pasar Seni to PJ Old Town.
Other buses that call here are the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) Free City Bus and Rapid KL servicing two other routes; they pick up passengers waiting by the road outside the bus terminal.
Sited in the oldest part of Petaling Jaya, this bus terminal has been earmarked for redevelopment with plans by the Transport Ministry to turn it into a modern public transportation hub.
However, residents are calling on MBPJ to postpone the demolition of the neighbourhood bus station for three months, claiming there is no need for a new bus hub.
“We hope they will agree and use the three months to talk to us and decide on the best plans for the old bus station,” said Section 1B Petaling Jaya Rukun Tetangga chairman Kok Kuan Yong.
He said no dialogues or meetings were organised before the plan was revealed to them on Dec 1, with construction work starting immediately on Dec 2.
Currently, minor works have already started and hoarding has been installed around the structure. It is only a matter of time before contractors tear the whole structure down.
This is a RM4mil project allocated by the Transport Ministry and left to MBPJ to monitor and implement.
According to the plans laid out by the Transport Ministry, the new building will be a two-storey one incorporating shoplots.
There will only be two lanes -- outside the building -- allocated for the buses.
“This is the only piece of land we have left in the Old Town commercial area and we hope that it will be put to good use,” said Kok.
He said residents did not need a new bus hub.
“What is really needed here is a multi-storey carpark.
“Throughout the Old Town commercial area, you can see motorists double-parking and parking illegally by the side of the road,” he said.
Residents had already written to Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad last week, requesting for the project to be postponed for three months.
They are still waiting for her reply.
Meanwhile, Bukit Gasing assemblyman R. Rajiv also put in his written request to the mayor last week.
“The residents are more concerned about the parking woes in the busy commercial area and they clearly do not want a new bus hub,” he said.
When StarMetro visited the existing bus station, it was filled with cars parked illegally as parking space at the commercial area across the street was insufficient.
“When this bus station is demolished and closed for construction, it will not even affect the buses plying this route because they do not need the building to function,” said Rajiv.
He further argued that the new modern building could not be called a public transport hub because it catered only to four bus routes.
“I asked the authorities if there were any future plans to bring more buses in or have other means of public transportation here and the answer was no,” he said.
He added that there were no planned Light Rail Transit (LRT) or Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations nearby.
“This hub should be built in the Asia Jaya LRT area as there is an empty piece of land there with good connectivity, making it more suitable,” he said.
Joining him was Taman Medan assemblyman Haniza Talha, who urged MBPJ to have discussions with nearby residents and see what their needs were.
“We have to optimise the usage of this land and help the community address its social concerns, which include parking,” she said.
Meanwhile, Petaling Jaya Utara MCA chairman Tan Gim Tuan said residents’ needs must be prioritised, urging MBPJ to consult the public or the station might end up a white elephant in future.
Rajiv and a few councillors plan to meet MBPJ officers today regarding the project.
Lack of facilities at temporary bus terminal in Section 13 Shah Alam