PETALING JAYA: Newly-formed public transport operator Rapid KL will have to double its fleet of buses and revamp the present route network before it can provide commuters with good service, its chief operating officer for bus operations Mohd Ali Mohd Nor said.
With just over 900 buses inherited from Intrakota and Cityliner – almost one third of which are not in operating condition – he said the main priority now was to get more buses on the road.
“There is a severe lack of capacity at the moment as there has not been any real fleet expansion by the previous operators for many years,” he told The Star yesterday.
He did not give a price tag for the exercise but doubling the fleet of buses would cost hundreds of millions of ringgit.
Mohd Ali said he would need around RM5mil just to get the non-operating buses back on the road.
Rapid KL, which began operating their first bus service between the Kuala Lumpur city centre and Pandan Indah yesterday, will gradually take over Intrakota and Cityliner's 107 bus routes covering 70% of the Klang Valley's total routes.
The Government formed Rapid KL to operate the two bus services, as well as Putraline and Starline light rail transit (LRT) systems which it had taken over at various stages since 2002.
Mohd Ali said bus routes would be modified to make them run more smoothly and to feed the LRT lines.
He said Intrakota and Cityliner had overlapping routes and they would have to be rationalised. Bus routes would also be changed to avoid congested roads and diverted to use existing bus lanes.
“We will also have to boost the feeder services for the LRT,” he said, adding that although this did not bring in much revenue, “feedering” was a crucial part of a good public transport system.
He said Rapid KL might consider “satellite feedering” where feeder buses brought passengers to a bus terminal for them to get onto a bigger bus to go to the city centre.
Asked whether there would be a massive redrawing of routes, he said this was not necessary because many routes had been established for many years and were the best in terms of passengers and fare collection.
Mohd Ali said Rapid KL would focus on providing good passenger information through a website, printed guides and onsite information boards.
“Looking further ahead, we will also use information and communication technology to give real time information which will let passengers know what time their bus is arriving,” he said.
On its relationship with other bus operators in the Klang Valley such as Metrobus and Len Seng Omnibus, Mohd Ali said he hoped they would ultimately let Rapid KL operate their buses on their behalf.
“This will enable all bus lines in the Klang Valley to come under the Rapid KL banner,” he said.
Asked whether the current restructuring would work, Mohd Ali said many factors were now present to make it a success.
“Firstly the Government has shown its has political will to set things right. Secondly, the two giant bus operators are now under one roof and integrated with the LRT.
“This puts a new dimension to everything,” he said.