PUTRAJAYA: Free shuttle bus services will be arranged between KL Sentral and Parliament, to help lawmakers, staff and media personnel have a hassle-free commute to the august House during sittings, says Anthony Loke.
The Transport Minister said this is among the initiatives planned to promote and encourage the use of public transport.
"If lawmakers including ministers can use public transport, it is a good signal to the rest. I hope lawmakers will welcome this move. I will use this bus service," said Loke, who is Seremban Member of Parliament.
Noting that thousands of parking spots were needed each time a sitting was in session, he said the initiative would reduce congestion and long queues at the Parliament building.
Loke added that he had spoken to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Johari Abdul on the matter, but further discussions would have to be held with Parliament’s administration to iron out the arrangements.
"We will try to implement this in this (upcoming) session. Maybe we will do a trial run but further discussions must be held with Parliament’s administration to ensure that safety measures are not compromised," he said at a press conference at his ministry here on Friday (Feb 3).
"We will look into the mechanism for safety passes and maybe one or two stops will be made along the way so they can stop and get their passes and the distance (between the guard house and the Parliament building) is not far," he added.
"I have spoken to Prasarana and we will use the shorter buses so that it can easily be used in the Parliament vicinity.
"KL Sentral is a transport hub and it is located close to Parliament and has several modes of transportation," he added.
He said there were many lawmakers from outstation who prefer to stay at hotels around the KL Sentral area.
"I encourage lawmakers to not drive and there are some using ehailing, there is no need for it as it may also be difficult for ehailing drivers to get through and wait," he said, adding that the bus services would provide lawmakers and visitors some comfort.
"I encourage friends from the media to also use the shuttle bus," he added.
He also encouraged Transport Ministry staff to use the services if they had engagements in Parliament.
As for operating hours, he said the buses would start as early as 8am and would be available until the sitting was over.
"If the sitting is extended until 7.30-8pm, the bus services will be available after the sitting is over.
"That is the approach we will take with Parliament administration," he said.
He said the capacity of the service would be determined based on demand.
"There is no issue in terms of the number of buses. If there is high demand, we will prepare more buses," he said.
Visitors including the press were required to queue up at the guard house of the Parliament building to obtain their passes before entering the Parliament building.
The queue could sometimes stretch to 30 minutes or more.