PJKITA > All Aboard the PJ City Bus

All Aboard the PJ City Bus

The veins of a city is its streets and it pulses and flows, as citizens go about their lives. The PJ City Bus service connects residential areas to commercial hotspots in Petaling Jaya, opening up the city to everyone.

Text by Vanessa Surian
Photos by Teoh Eng Hooi

 

It was a short wait at the Taman Jaya LRT station, before the distinct green-painted bus rolls in, a pleasing 15 minutes ahead of time. The PJ City Bus service, free and easy to use, currently provides four different routes around the city with frequent buses.

Having embraced the digital age with relish, the service comes with an app that lets users find the closest bus stops and track the next available bus, using an accessible interface similar to that of popular ride-hailing apps.

Another feature that sets the green bus apart from its peers is its Wi-Fi capabilities, a lovely perk for those on long commutes.

As we set of on our journey, a fellow passenger, housewife Kamala Sivakumar, says that this is her first time trying out the service. Her agenda for the day is to pick up her daughter from school in Assunta, and run some errands in PJ New Town.

“I got to know about this bus through my mother who has been using the service since it first started to commute to work,” she says.

Kamala does not drive, and would normally rely on her husband to get around, but the bus provides a welcome alternative.

The PJ City Bus currently shuttles an average of 10,000 users around the city, and is gaining ground on its aims of upgrading the urban mobility of citizens, reducing traffic, and lowering carbon footprint.

ACCESSIBLE FOR ALL

As the bus continues its journey, a happy group of children dressed in tracksuits climb aboard. They are on their way home after a day of sports. Eleven year old Daniel Rosdi says that he and his friends have been taking the bus for the last 3 months.

“Normally, my friends and I would take the bus to go around Petaling Jaya to visit friends and hang out,” he says. “For me and my friends this has become a regular method to get around.”

Since its launch in 2014, the PJ City Bus has expanded from a fleet size of six to 22 buses.

As the bus nears the industrial area that skirts Taman Medan, passengers become scarce, and the journey ends at the Hab Bas.

One of the drivers, Prem Kumar says that the bus service is popular with people working along the route. Aside from the usual passengers, there are about 40 people with disabilities along his route.

“Drivers have been trained to assist the OKUs to board the bus, deploying the ramps to accommodate their wheelchairs and sometimes the other passengers lend them a hand too,” he says.

Talking about his passengers, Prem says, “The passengers are mostly satisfied with the service except for when the bus runs late, which is unavoidable during rush hour.”

INTEGRAL TO DAILY COMMUTES

Raman Thanasayan, a writer, is enthusiastic about the service. “For me this bus is a godsend. I take it daily to go about my business and also for leisure.”

“I am always impressed by the drivers helping the disabled passengers.”

Another rider, Abdullah Madis, a 52-year-old retiree takes the bus once a week. “I go to the market in Old Town, and to jalan-jalan from my house in Kg Dato Haron. I don’t have to worry about parking.”

On a return trip to Taman Jaya LRT, 61 year old Chua Geok Sang says he has been taking the bus regularly since it was first introduced. Today, he is taking the bus home after visiting a friend in Taman Medan.

An ardent supporter of the service, he says, “This is my way to stretch my budget, taking the green bus as much as possible.”

“This bus has been a blessing, and I hope that it will continue in the long run.”


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