JOHOR BARU, March 20 — The state government will start a free bus service here and in the outlying districts of Pasir Gudang and Kulai in the middle of next month.Thirty buses will ply several routes in the pilot project, called Johor Muafakat (Johor Unite).
To enjoy the free bus rides, one only needs to obtain a membership card by registering at www.basmuafakatjohor.com.The membership card costs RM10 a year for adults and RM5 for senior citizens, but is free for the physically challenged, students from ages seven to 17, and children under six.
The project was made possible by an allocation of an annual budget of RM11 million by four local councils — Johor Baru City Council, Pasir Gudang Local Authority, Kulai Town Municipal Council and Johor Baru Central Municipal Council.Latiff said sceptics were wondering if the service would be reliable and live up to expectations.“We have appointed two bus companies – Handal Indah Sdn Bhd and Maju Bus Service – with good track records in Johor to manage the service,” he said.
Latiff said the Johor Public Transport Corporation (JPTC), an independent body set up by the state government, had planned the routes and would also oversee and monitor the operations.He said although it was a free service, there would be no compromises, and any complaints regarding delays, rude drivers and reckless driving could be directed to the Johor Public Transport Corporation.“Free service does not mean poor service,” he said.
“Two years ago, the Johor Baru City Council launched a free service under the Johor Baru Di Hati Ku (Johor Baru in My Heart) scheme. Six buses are still operating at half-hour intervals along the route which takes passengers from the council’s building to Johor Baru Central and Jalan Wong Ah Fook.“It remains a popular service, with an average of 1,000 passengers daily.”Latiff said the new buses, equipped with free Wi-Fi service, were expected to ferry 200,000 passengers a year. The buses would carry the Bus Muafakat Johor logo on the front for better identification and the colour of the buses would vary from each local council, he said.