Today, RapidKL will be launching the new bus system in Area 5 and 6. This will bring new bus service to the areas south and west of Kuala Lumpur, completing the process that began in January with the introduction of the City Shuttle service. They have created dozens of new routes, and made service more reliable in Kuala Lumpur and the areas surrounding the city. For this they should be congratulated.
Now that the service is almost complete, it's time to look closely at public transit infrastructure in our big cities and smaller local communities.
For example, the bus stand at Jalan Hang Kasturi, near Pasar Seni LRT station, will no longer be used by RapidKL buses once they shift to KL Sentral. Is anyone thinking about how this space can be reused? One option would be to shift the Klang and Seremban express buses into the bus stand, so they do not block the main road. Or, to shift some of the Metrobuses away from Kota Raya and Sinar Kota, to wait in front of Pasar Seni LRT station.
With the plans for the Integrated Transit Terminals outside of the city, at Gombak and Bandar Tasik Selatan, there is the question of what to do with the Puduraya bus station, as well as the Plaza Rakyat project. Can these spaces be redesigned so local city buses do not need to wait along the crowded streets of the city?
There are other improvements that can be made outside of KL. For example, there is an intercity coach stand located in the USJ area of Subang Jaya, operated by the Metrobus company. However, if you were passing by, you would not know that this is a coach stand or bus stand. It looks more like a repair yard, with many buses parked in a lonely, empty parking lot. This is a place that would be ideal as a transit terminal for the USJ and Subang areas. It could host local metrobuses, intercity coaches, and even buses to the airport.
Anyone who has been around the KL Sentral bus stand recently would know that there are already too many buses in the area. The area is too narrow and crowded and the air is choking with diesel fumes. There is not enough room for buses to move around. A new bus stand is necessary at KL Sentral to handle the local buses, Genting buses, airport buses, etc. that are crowding the area.
It is time for the government and public transit operators to focus on improving this vital service. Many more people will switch to public transit if the service is organised and usable, not chaotic and disorderly. Now that the bus system has been restructured, safe, clean, organised bus stations with useful information for passengers would be the next logical step.