May 06 2011
Malaysian intercity bus travel is a curious thing indeed. The journey itself is for the most part efficient, pleasant and good value for money. By contrast, the vast majority of bus terminals are hot, noisy, confusing, tout-filled nightmares. If the buses themselves do a good job of representing Malaysia’s first world aspirations, the places where the journeys begin and end show how far those aspirations are from being realised. So, it was with great interest that I read about Kuala Lumpur‘s newest bus terminal, TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan at Bandar Tasik Selatan), which promised an altogether more pleasant experience for travellers. I went down to see for myself whether it lived up to the hype.
What impressed me straight away was how easy it is to get to by public transport. Not one, not two, but three different train services stop at Bandar Tasik Selatan: an LRT (subway) line, a KTM (commuter) line and the KLIA Transit (airport link). It’s also well served by city buses. All this adds up to a level of transport integration that is unheard of in Malaysia. No wonder a long line of taxis was sitting idly by.
I was also impressed by the clear signage to and from the bus terminal, and by its non-death defying pedestrian access. Not having to dodge speeding traffic, while carrying heavy luggage, is a real treat for bus passengers in Malaysia, trust me.
Another treat was to walk into the main hall of the bus terminal. Light, airy and sparklingly clean, TBS is like no other bus station I have ever seen in Asia. Not only does it look good, it works in a practical sense too. Massive electronic boards list all arrivals and departures (mostly southern and southeastern destinations at present); the information staff are helpful; a centralised ticketing system brings together many of the bus operators; and a zero tolerance policy towards touts is actively enforced.
TBS has not been without teething problems, with several bus companies refusing to move there, and others boycotting the centralised ticketing system, but overall it is a project that Malaysia can be truly proud of. I just hope it is a sign of things to come.
Terminal Bersepadu Selatan
Bandar Tasik Selatan, Jalan Terminal Selatan
T: (03) 9057 5804 or (03) 9057 5802
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