KTB to halt Cityliner services in Seberang Perai

By Chow Kon Yeow, Member of Parliament, Tanjong

The state government of Penang has been informed by Konsortium Transnasional Berhad (KTB) that the Cityliner buses currently plying various routes in Seberang Perai will cease to operate with effect from Monday, November 21, 2011.

This is in relation to the front page report on today’s Star which reported that the Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association’s warning that more stage buses nationwide will be terminated by the end of the month unless they receive a bail out.

In giving the state government a 10-day notice, KTB provided the following reasons for their intended termination of services:
(1)   The company has sustained losses for more than a decade.

(2)   For this year alone, they expect to lose RM4 million for their Seberang Perai operations alone.

(3)   Most of the routes they ply are unprofitable.

(4)   Competition with other operators on major routes has limited revenue.

Seven service routes which will be discontinued are as follows:

(1)   Butterworth-Baling

(2)   Butterworth-Padang Serai

(3)   Butterworth-Bukit Mertajam

(4)   Butterworth-Taman Pelangi

(5)   Bukit Mertajam-Juru

(6)   Butterworth-Parit Buntar (Lebuhraya)

(7)   Bukit Mertajam-Nibong Tebal-Parit Buntar

KTB has proposed that they be appointed as a sub-contractor to Rapid Penang and be paid a fixed per kilometer sum in exchange for all collected fares to be forwarded to Rapid Penang. Alternatively, KTB has also proposed that the state government takes over the routes and contracts it back to KTB, also on a fixed per kilometer sum.

The state government has written to the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to request for urgent intervention to prevent an unnecessary crisis.

We hope discussions with KTB and SPAD will resolve the matter as soon as possible. However, news that a major consortium (unnamed in *The Star’s *report today) has stopped services in Negri Sembilan, hence leaving thousands of commuters in stranded, gives us reason to worry.

In the meantime, we are in discussions with Rapid Penang to be ready to provide temporary services to affected areas in the event KTB goes ahead and stops all services.