Once a while, we discuss about the Causeway, about how unhappy we are about bus services 950, 170*, etcetera. Sometimes, we discuss about the buses at Klang Valley. Occasionally, we discuss about the High-Speed Rail and the Rapid-Transit System.
Just now, I happened to come across an article about Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal going to have renovation and upgrading. Actually wanted to share it at the existing thread on bus interchanges and terminal, but then I saw the part in that article which mentioned about Johor Bahru’s dream to develop a (better) public transport network.
As Johor Bahru is just next door, I feel that the transport in Johor Bahru is a topic that we can really discuss about. Likewise for Kuala Lumpur, and the other states in Malaysia. After all, we used to be one family. I feel that there is sufficient demand to open a dedicated thread to discuss everything about the buses and trains in Malaysia, in particularly Johor Bahru. Hence, I created this thread.
To start the ball rolling,
RM20 million (S$6.9 million) will be spent on upgrading Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal.
It will be upgraded on-site. When completed, it will be air-conditioned, have 61 parking lots, and be similar to our bus interchanges.
Here is an article about it, written by "The Malay Mail Online":
Will JB’s Larkin Sentral outlive its usefulness?
JOHOR BARU, April 23 â€• The Larkin Bus Terminal is poised for a makeover in 18 months. The RM20 million upgrade will see the 20-year-old facility being transformed into a modern bus station.
Features at the terminal would be an air-conditioned waiting lounge able to accommodate up to 1,000 passengers and an electronic signboard to inform passengers of the departure and arrival time of buses. There will be new ticketing booths and the bus bays, 61 in total, will be constructed and upgraded with floodlights.
Larkin Sentral, as it is also known, currently serves an average of 27,000 passengers but it is still not a modern transportation hub despite Johor Baru being the southern gateway, welcoming six million tourists a year.
The ills of the bus terminal is all too evident. For years, passengers have had to bear with hot and stuffy corridors that are dimly lit.
â€œI promise you, 18 months from now, Larkin Sentral will not be the same any more,â€� said its building manager Yakob Haron.
â€œOur RM20 million upgrading plan will turn the terminal into one which will give commuters a sense of pride and comfort. No longer will there be touts and I am confident commuters will give the thumbs up after all the work is done.â€�
But he acknowledged that under present conditions, Larkin Sentral does not measure up to the expectations of a modern and efficient transportation hub, such as the Bandar Tasik Selatan (TBS) Integrated bus terminal in Kuala Lumpur.
â€œThe cost of TBS was almost RM500 million and it is government-funded. Larkin Sentral is managed by a private company, Damansara Assets, a subsidiary of Johor Corporation,â€� he said.
The company has to make do with Larkin Sentral but they are handicapped by the lack of space to expand. The terminal sits on a 6.57ha site and it includes the Larkin wet market next door. Fifty-four bus companies operate from the station and there are 242 shoplots, including a bazaar on the third floor of the main building.
Yakob said operations at the station would continue as usual when construction begins.
â€œI wish we could build a completely new bus terminal but thatâ€™s for the state or federal government to decide. By 2020, we expect passenger volume to double and the number of bus trips daily to hit 3,600.
â€œThatâ€™s why itâ€™s important to upgrade the terminal. Singaporeans make up about 20 per cent of the commuters here. They use the terminal to buy tickets to other parts of the country and we donâ€™t want to create an impression that Larkin sentral is an outdated facility,â€� Yakob said.
But Dr Zaly Mohammad Shah, a senior lecturer in town planning at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, believes the RM20 million expansion plan will not serve its purpose.
â€œWhat Johor Baru needs in its capacity as a modern metropolis in the making, is a bigger and more efficient transportation hub,â€� he said.
â€œFifteen or 20 years down the road, Larkin Sentral will outlive its usefulness. The roads are narrow and getting in and out of the area is a problem.
â€œI use the terminal every two weeks and I am well versed with the situation there. Upgrading is not the perfect solution. It will at most provide some comfort to passengers. Itâ€™s time the government build a new transformation hub, in line with the cityâ€™s aim of becoming a world-class city.â€�
Johor Baru, never known for its public transport efficiency, is now on a mission to introduce change.
The free Bus Muafakat Johor service, which will roll out soon, will benefit city folks as well as those living in Pasir Gudang and the outlying areas. The state government is also hoping the federal government would grant them an allocation to execute their Bus Rapid Transit plan.
The state government is on the right track. All it needs to do is concentrate on a good network of public bus transportation which will benefit the people. Of course, it will also help if the grouses of the people are taken into consideration by the powers that be.