BUTTERWORTH: While commuters welcome the opening of the new Penang Sentral transport terminal, bus-ticketing agents here fear losing their jobs to an electronic ticketing system at the terminal.
They are worried their services will no longer be required as commuters can purchase their tickets online or at counters.
Ika Syahfitri Syahrifuddin, 40, an agent since 1999, claimed some 50 agents might end up jobless with no income if “computers replace us”.
“I’m not young. No factories will take us in and we do not have pensions to rely on,” she said when met at the temporary terminal.
Nizal Roslan, 39, hoped their experiences in the ticketing services could be put to use when Penang Sentral opens.
“I hope that instead of hiring a new workforce, the management can provide us jobs there,” he said.
Taxi drivers operating at the parking lot of Butterworth KTM train station are also feeling uncertain about their future.
Penang Sentral Car Rental and Taxi Driver Association chairman C. Subramaniam said the association had 164 taxi drivers who currently pay only RM1 daily for each car to park at the station’s parking lot and wait for customers disembarking from buses and ferries.
“The new Penang Sentral will utilise the coupon system, in which RM2 from each fare will be paid to the management, while the remaining will be paid to taxi drivers.
“But if the distance is short or fare is low, taxi drivers will earn less, especially now with competition from ride-hailing services,” he said.
Meanwhile, commuters are looking forward to Penang Sentral’s opening.
Video producer Chee Hou Lim, 23, from Klang in Selangor said the temporary bus terminal was hot and humid.
“KL Sentral in Kuala Lumpur is air-conditioned and more comfortable and I look forward to Penang Sentral being similar.
“With the ferry and train linked, it will be more convenient for commuters without being exposed to the hot weather,” he said.