KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 — Government-owned public transport firm Prasarana’s Rapid KL needs more drivers for its buses amid plans to further increase the number of buses in the Klang Valley, Transport Minister Anthony Loke has said.
According to local daily Sinar Harian, Loke acknowledged that many have lamented the lack of an efficient public bus system in Malaysia and said there were plans to add more buses.
Loke was yesterday reported saying that Rapid Bus in Kuala Lumpur currently only has over 800 buses and that there are plans to increase this to 1,000 buses by the end of this year, and with plans to further increase the number of buses in stages next year by adding on to the total every month.
He said this would be done by either servicing existing buses and adding on new buses whether through purchases or leases, but was also reported saying that there would be issues if there are insufficient bus drivers.
“Among the big problems faced by Prasarana is that our drivers are fewer. We need many drivers as it cannot be one bus, one driver.
“We need more drivers than the number of buses as there are those who have to go on leave, emergency leave, have to have the drivers take turns to ensure our bus transportation service becomes better in the Klang Valley,” he was quoted saying yesterday at the Career@Transportation Programme in Nilai which offers 2,232 job opportunities in the transportation sector.
He reportedly acknowledged that the nearly RM3,000 cost of getting a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) driving licence for class E for buses is a main factor why this was not a preferred choice, and said this was why the government had implemented the MyLesen programme for such licences to tackle the shortage of bus drivers.
“We already have a programme to licence them and if anyone is interested, they can apply and have to be willing to come to get the licence besides being prepared to work as soon as they pass the test,” he said, expressing the intention to train those who truly want to be involved in this sector.
On September 12, Loke was reported saying that nearly 4,000 buses in the Klang Valley are required for an efficient service, and that there are currently only 724 buses in the Klang Valley and that an estimated total of 1,000 buses are expected to be operational every day by the end of this year.
“Some 150 Rapid KL buses are still being maintained and can be put back into service. In addition, we are appointing new bus operators. For example, routes that are not covered by our buses will be outsourced to other operators,” he was quoted saying by national news agency Bernama.