Women-only buses still on trial, says federal transport agency

Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook announced the introduction of the women-only bus service when he visited the Seremban bus terminal on Thursday. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The women-only express buses serving the Seremban- Kuala Lumpur route are being monitored to identify any shortcomings, the Land Public Transport Agency (Apad) said.

Its director-general Azlan Shah Al Bakri said the service was still in the trial phase.

He said the decision to implement the service was based on feedback from female passengers, noting that the response so far was “very encouraging”.

Azlan said Apad would study whether there was a demand for such services along other busy routes.

He said the women-only buses made up only four of the 24 trips daily from Seremban to Kuala Lumpur. These trips were during the morning and evening peak hours.

Women travelling with their male partners, friends or relatives could take the normal bus services, he said.

Azlan said the bus tickets for the women-only coaches were being sold at the entrances to the buses to prevent men from boarding.

Yesterday, women and bus operators had raised concerns over the service.

Pan-Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Ashfar Ali was worried about the financial impact on bus operators.

He wondered whether the transport ministry would make it compulsory for bus operators to offer such women-only services.

Women’s rights activists, who welcomed the service, hoped the authorities would enforce the ruling to ensure male passengers did not get onto these buses.

Lawyer Samantha Chong asked whether existing traffic laws allowed the authorities to penalise men who entered such buses.

Transport expert Goh Bok Yen cautioned that such women-only buses must not result in a reduction in frequency of bus services.