On April 30 this year, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and RapidBus after months of negotiations to provide a free city bus service in Petaling Jaya.
Two weeks later, on May 14, the PJ CityBus was launched, aimed at encouraging city dwellers to leave their private cars at home and shift to public transport in their daily traveling.
MBPJ said it believes an increase in the usage of public transport will help reduce the problem of traffic congestion in Petaling Jaya, especially during peak hours, and less commuters will be using private vehicles.
According to Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association president Datuk Dr Marimuthu Nadason, a person using the free bus to travel to work instead of driving could achieve an average annual savings of RM6,000.
It is estimated that the service will cost MBPJ around RM2.5 million annually, and RM1 million has been allocated under Budget 2014 for the project.
The bus travels a 28.2km route which starts from the bus terminal in Jalan PJS 3/11, going through Jalan Klang Lama, Jalan Templer, Jalan Othman, Jalan Yong Shook Lin, around the Section 52 commercial centre, Jalan Penchala, Jalan Semangat, Jalan Universiti and Jalan Gasing.
It serves the Kampung Dato Harun KTM station, Asia Jaya LRT and Sections 14, 16 and 17 as well as the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) and PJ Old Town.
The operational hours are from 6am to 9pm daily.
With 10 buses allocated for the service, it is expected to run on a five-minute frequency during peak hours and 10 minute frequency during off peak hours.
The buses in use are designed with wheelchair ramps as well as priority seating for those in wheelchairs, and are equipped with free Wi-Fi internet access and LED monitors for onboard entertainment.
The buses are non-operational on weekends in order to cut costs, and advertising panels will be installed on the buses to generate revenue.
MBPJ also said it has chosen the Section 52 commercial centre as the pilot project for the route of the free service to support the PJ Livable City project – the pilot project to upgrade the commercial centre which consists of many different components such as the one way system, Park & Ride and PJ Walk among various other projects.
MBPJ urges residents of Petaling Jaya to fully utilise the service, which is in line with MBPJ’s aim to develop the public transport infrastructure as well as efficient and integrated traffic management.