PETALING JAYA: Public bus service provider RapidKL has been criticised by public transportation NGO Transit Malaysia over a decision to terminate 13 bus routes in the Klang Valley over the past few months.
Transit said this move will inconvenience users and lead to congestion.
“We’ve calculated the total length of bus routes terminated by RapidKL to be around 190km. This will separate neighbourhoods and districts from city centres, and inconvenience users by making public transport less available, less reliable and less frequent,” it said in a statement today.
Among the routes terminated were essential ones such as route 852 between Titiwangsa LRT and Solaris Dutamas and route 754 between UiTM Puncak Perdana and Seksyen 2 Shah Alam.
Transit said those most hit would be students and underpaid essential service workers.
“How will students feel when they return to campus physically to find there are no longer any bus services; their alternative being a RM20 Grab ride, more than five times the bus fare? How about essential workers that are underpaid yet required to work, who rely on these economical bus services?” Transit said.
The statement said it was surprising that RapidKL had cited “low ridership” as one of the reasons for the termination of these routes as this was caused by the conditional movement order (CMCO) that had been imposed on the Klang Valley.
“Malaysians supported the CMCO because it is the right thing to do to prevent community spread of Covid-19. We did not expect it would be used as a justification to axe bus services,” it read.
Another reason given by RapidKL was overlapping routes, but the NGO suggested that a better solution for this problem would be to “untangle” the overlaps rather than terminate the entire route.
“Slashing routes would lead to an influx of passengers on alternate buses and it is ironic seeing that RapidKL has a 30 to 40-person limit. This would make physical distancing difficult,” they said.
The NGO added that there has been no announcement of any plans to revive these routes in the future, leading them to believe that the routes will not be replaced after the pandemic subsides.
It criticised RapidKL for the lack of public consultation before making these decisions, saying that it was an insult to public transport users.
“Public transport users deserve better. We cannot improve public transport without improving policy and governance. We also cannot improve public transport if the financial and structural models favour cost cutting over service quality; a mediocre compromise,” it said.
Transit Malaysia also urged the finance ministry and RapidKL’s parent company, Prasarana Malaysia Berhad, to come up with a new model for the public transport system that puts service quality and standards above cost cutting.
Source: The Sun Daily