PETALING JAYA: The newly-launched Mutiara Rentas Desa stage bus service is expected to fulfil a long-standing demand by Kelantan folk, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
“It is common knowledge that bus services in Kelantan started back in 1947, but were interrupted for a time which caused difficulties for commuters, especially in rural areas.
“They had to use other means of transport and pay high fares,” he said in a Facebook post Friday (Sept 2).
Dr Wee, who was in Kota Baru to officiate the launch, said the government had allocated RM4.11mil to the state for this year to ensure that the service is successfully implemented.
He said Konsortium E-Mutiara Bhd, which operates the service, is a bumiputra company with over 30 years’ experience in the land public transport industry.
“More than 60,000 passengers have used the service so far, with an average rate of increase in passengers of 51% every month from February to August.
“Mutiara Rentas Desa is now operating 13 minibuses on nine routes covering a daily total distance of 9,920.6km.
“The use of this minibus is appropriate to the road conditions and the current number of passengers.
“Mutiara Rentas Desa also plans to expand its services with the addition of 14 new minibuses in phases by the end of this year,” he said.
In addition, Dr Wee said all the company’s buses used are equipped with an electronic ticketing system and GPS to enable every vehicle to be effectively monitored for route and schedule compliance.
“This is also to fulfil the conditions that have been set for the implementation of the Interim Stage Bus Support Fund (ISBSF).
“The Transport Ministry, through the Land Transport Agency (APAD) as the land public transport licensing regulatory agency, is always trying to come up with a more efficient bus system to help improve the productivity and standard of living of the population.
“The two main initiatives implemented by the government through APAD for stage bus services in Peninsular Malaysia, are ISBSF and the Stage Bus Service Transformation (SBST) programme through the service brand ‘MyBAS’,” he said.
Also present were Kelantan government deputy secretary (development) Datuk Dr Tengku Mohamed Faziharudean Tengku Feissal representing the Mentri Besar; government deputy secretary (management) Zainal Abidin Yusuf; senator Datuk Nicole Wong; Johor exco member Ling Tian Soon; Road Transport Department (JPJ) director-general Zailani Hashim; APAD director-general Datuk Azlan Shah Al Bakri; Kelantan acting police chief Datuk Muhamad Zaki Harun; Konsortium E-Mutiara Berhad executive chairman Che Ibrahim Che Ismail; and Hino Motor Sales (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd managing director Atsushi Uchiyama.
Source: The Star