Commuters complain about infrequent bus services
By DEBBIE CHAN and OH ING YEEN
IMAGINE waiting at a bus station for one-and-a-half hours and not a single bus arrives. No, it’s not the wrong station. The trunk line buses serving as a feeder between the Rapid KL local and city lines as well as the LRT are becoming more infrequent.
And, on some routes with lower passenger load, the feeder buses sometimes do not arrive at all.
Wasted time: Commuters stare at their watches as they wait for the feeder bus.
Recently, a StarMetro team set out to find out what it is like to travel to various destinations using the LRT and buses.
Interviews were conducted with some commuters who depended on these modes of transport.
At the Section 16 bus stop in Petaling Jaya, it was observed that within the duration of one-and-a-half hours during the non-peak period, not a single trunk line bus arrived at the bus stop.
During peak hours, many commuters were seen waiting impatiently for the buses.
According to Jessica Ong, who lives in Bandar Utama, it is a real tough situation at Section 16 as during peak hours, it is really congested and the buses take forever to arrive.
“When one finally arrives, it is often packed to the brim and we have to wait for the next bus. It sometimes takes me two hours to get home,” she said.
Crowded: The long waiting time can also lead to missed appointments.
At 10.20am, there were only a handful of people waiting for the feeder buses at the Asia Jaya LRT station.
Those waiting were observed checking their watches every minute or so, waiting patiently or sighing impatiently, chatting with friends or just idling.
After a 15-minute wait, a trunk line bus heading towards Section 14 came. It was half an hour later before the next bus arrived.
One trunk bus travelling to the Eastin Hotel and stopping at the Section 16 bus stop arrived at 10.50am but it was 40 minutes later before another came.
The waiting period between getting off the LRT rail and boarding the feeder bus adds to the long travel time.
The irregular bus services are a real inconvenience to commuters, causing them to be late for their appointments.
“I hope that they’ll be on time,” Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) student Gan Chee Seang said, when asked to comment on the feeder bus service.
Gan, who lives in Wangsa Maju, has been taking the feeder bus from there to the university campus in Section 13, Petaling Jaya, daily for nearly three years.
“Although there are more buses at the Wangsa Maju station, the bus drivers are always giving excuses like they want to go for a break or to the toilet,” he said.
Gan said he usually had to wait for 20 minutes for a bus but there were times where he had to wait up to 40 minutes.
“It only takes 45 minutes for me to reach my destination, but with the waiting time, it takes me two hours,” he said.
Fellow Utar student Chew Cheong Huat, 21, is dissatisfied with the average 20-minute wait and hopes that the bus would come more frequently, like every 10 minutes.
“On some days, my class starts at 8am so I end up having to take a taxi for fear of being late,” he said.
According to Nigel Pinto, 20, there should be a time schedule so that the passengers need not have to wait blindly.
“On a good day, I only have to wait for about 10 minutes. However, I have experienced waiting for 40 to 50 minutes. Sometimes, I end up taking a cab,” he said.
Two retirees, who only want to be identified as Yap, 70, and Chan, 80, complained that they had to wait at least half an hour for a bus during the peak hours and about an hour during the off-peak hours.
They often take the bus from the Asia Jaya LRT station to have lunch at Seksyen 17 or SS2.
Yap said RapidKL should have a spare bus in case of breakdowns.
“Once the air-conditioning broke down and it was so hot in the bus,” he said.
“I’ve also noticed that the bus did not travel to all the destinations stated on the bus sign as there were only a few passengers,” Yap said.
“Half an hour is okay for us retirees. But it’s troublesome for those rushing to work,” Chan said.
Not all, however, complained about the waiting time.
Marie Elena finds the feeder bus service convenient and doesn’t mind waiting for 15 to 20 minutes.
“The waiting time is not too bad,” she said.
The scheduled frequency of trunk line buses, including the T628 and T629, is between 20 minutes during peak hours and 40 minutes during off-peak hours.
RapidKL has attributed the bus delays in Klang Valley to worsening traffic conditions as well as other crucial factors like unscheduled road diversions and closures, illegal and haphazard parking of vehicles, adverse weather conditions and road accidents.
According to RapidKL general manager (communications) Ebi Azly Abdullah, traffic congestion patterns vary from day-to-day within the Klang Valley.
“With all these factors combined, it is virtually impossible for RapidKL to provide exact information on frequency timings,” he said.
“In the case of breakdowns, depending on availability of buses and drivers, a spare bus will be used to cover that route,” he said.
Ebi also said despite the 41% price increase in petrol, RapidKL had no immediate plan to increase its fares.