Sept 16, 2008 By HAH FOONG LIAN
OLD and rickety buses plying the routes in Ipoh will be a thing of the past now that all the city bus operators have teamed up to replace the bone-shakers and improve the public transport system.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said under an agreement to build the Ipoh Central Transportation Hub in Meru Raya with The Combined Bus Services Sdn Bhd, the bus company would supply 250 new air-conditioned coaches, worth some RM150mil, to ply the city routes.
In return, the state government would allocate a 3.4ha plot of land at Meru Raya to The Combined Bus Services to build the RM38mil new bus terminal.
The Combined Bus Services is a consortium that is formed by the city’s 14 bus operators.
Nizar said the 14 bus operators had agreed to work together to improve the public bus transportation system.
“Ipoh dwellers are in dire need of good bus services,” he said after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Perak government and The Combined Bus Services to build the new terminal.
“We would like to see existing bone-shaking buses be replaced and phased out. We want air-conditioned buses with uniformed and well-behaved drivers,” Nizar added.
Nizar pointed out that the first 30 new coaches would hit the city streets here on or before the Chinese New Year.
The consortium, he said, had three years to supply all the 250 new coaches.
On the new bus terminal at Meru Raya, Nizar said the company would be given 30 months to complete the building.
He added that a model of the building would be on display at the lobby of the Ipoh City Council for a month to obtain public feedback.
A contest to name the new public bus transportation would be held and the winner would be given free bus rides for life, he said.
On whether the old bus terminals at Medan Gopeng and Medan Kidd would be moved, Nizar said it would be reviewed at a meeting with the city council but public convenience would be given consideration before the authorities decide on what to do with them.
State Education, Local Government, Housing and Public Transport Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming, who was also present, said the government had saved RM188mil because the consortium was coming out with the money for the new bus terminal and new coaches.