Low passenger count, single entry/exit system irk bus operators.
OUTSTATION bus operators at the Klang Sentral bus terminal in Jalan Meru, which opened in December 2008, are still struggling with low volume of passengers and are upset with the station's management over the one-entry, one-exit system.
Although the 25 bus operators there have lodged complaints with the management, they claim their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
NOR FAIZIELAH BASIR, a spokesman for one of the bus operators, claims it has been months since they complained to the management company, NPO Management Sdn Bhd.
"When the building was constructed, it came with a one-entry, one-exit system which favours bus operators with counters at the front as the public tends to buy tickets from operators closest to the entry," she says.
"Now, it's a struggle to get enough passengers each day," says NOR FAIZIELAH, who works for Konsortium Bas Express Melayu (Klang) Sdn Bhd.
"Also, the station is prone to congestion during peak travel hours and it gets worse during public and school holidays when passenger volume is at its peak."
Another bus operator, who prefers to be known only as SHAMSUDDIN, says: "We only have many passengers during weekends, public and school holidays.
"On the other days, my company only has about 35 passengers and it's hard to make ends meet.
"Passengers also have a tendency to buy tickets from bus operators with counters at the front, so those operators further down suffer."
He says the station management could help improve the situation by allowing direct buses to Kuala Lumpur.
"Despite the KTM Komuter train services to KL, there are passengers who prefer taking the bus to the city," he says.
One bus operator upbeat about future prospects is Super Nice Express Sdn Bhd which started its services last month. Its spokesperson, SITI RAHAYU HUSSAIN, says: "Like most operators here, we have good days and bad days in terms of passenger volume, but we are positive that business will improve."
● WHEN contacted, NPO Management's property development leasing officer EIAANA ARIFIN says: "To build another entry system is too costly for the time being.
"Due to the current situation of less sales than anticipated, we are giving discounts to the bus operators of up to 40 per cent on their rental. Right now, some operators are fine with the rent but some aren't happy."
Bus operators pay a rental of about RM1,000 a month on the average (more if their lot size is bigger), stall operators pay RM1,200 a month, and those operating kiosks pay RM960 a month.
The most popular destinations for passengers from Klang Sentral are Ipoh, Kedah and Perlis in the north, Johor in the south, and Kelantan and Terengganu in the east.
CECILIA VICTOR - The Malay Mail