The interstate bus arrived at Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal at 9pm and since I am at the Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal, I decided to try out the Rapid Penang bus service to see how good it is, rather than relying on notoruios Penang taxi service which the state government and CVLB failed to tame.
I disembarked from platform 4 and was told that Rapid Penang occupies Platform 1 which is nearest to the taxi terminal. Platform 1 definately is NOT ready for Rapid Penang service as that narrow path still covered with un-finished renovation work.
As published before by major press, there are no timetable nor route information at Platform 1 where the Rapid Penang buses are scheduled to stop over.
After waited for 30 minutes came the first bus. There are a number of eager passengers like myself went to lookout for where this bus gonna head towards to. I was disappointed when the signboard printed Bayan Baru on this bus as I wanted to head towards Komtar.
So I asked the bus driver
Me : Encik bus nombor berapa pi Komtar
Driver : you kena pi Jalan besar ambik bus 301 sampai 303 baru ade pi Komtar
Me : Jalan besar mana ? tak stop kat sini ke ?
Driver : bus top sini cuma untuk bus dari Weld Quay, kalau you nak pigi komtar kena guna bas stand kat jalan besar dekat kubur tu, abis bus akan belok kiri ikut Jalan Sungai Dua.
Me : Kubur mana ? Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah ke ?
Driver : ya.
Me : okie thank you
What the fuck ? so much for the RM80 million project and not integrated ???, So I carried along my 2 pieces of luggage and had to walk across heavy trafficed 6 lane Jalan Sungai Dua, 400 meters away just to get to the bus stand mentioned by the driver.
Yet again, no route information nor timetable available at this bus stand, so there goes the 1 stop integrated bus service for Penang. It is even worst than before where Milan bus stop at the bus stop immediately in front of Sungai Nibong Express Bus terminal.
I patiently waited for another 30 odd minutes and comes the much awaited U302 bus.
It was a long haul bus, it has state of the art dashboard with a black and white LCD screen receiving near real time video feed from a dome camera positioned at the mid section of the cabin. It also houses a low tech cash container, a device which which found its way from the mini buses.
Boarded the bus, asked for the fair, RM1.50 from Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah to Jalan Ria in Komtar.
However the long haul bus has less seatting capacity than i thought, however, with more standing space, it can cramp more passengers.
An in cabin surveilance black and white camera aim at the back exit.
This U302 route took me around 30 minutes to reach Komtar. It passes Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah - Jalan Sungai Dua - Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah - Jalan Jelutong - Jalan Bakau - Jelutong Expressway - Jalan Magazine - Komtar .
This route misses 2 major drop off point, Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal and Batu Lancang Pasar.
All in all, I am satisfied with the Rapid Penang bus service, considering most of Penangites were taken for a ride by previous public bus transport services for far too long.
However said, Rapid Penang still has alot of gaps to close, particularly on time table and informative route maps,
There is no need to pay big money to hire 'Con'sultants to do that job, Rapid Penang project managers just have to point to these 2 websites for more information.