KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20, 2015:
Abdul Rasidi Sabberi Abdullah, 43, is one of the “Captains” of Go-KL City Bus that provides passengers with free bus rides in the nation’s capital.
He leaves home as early as 4.30am and reports for work at the RapidKL depot in Sentul at 5am.
After that, the daily routine begins by examining the bus starting from the engine to the cleanliness inside and outside before driving it to KLCC or Central Market.
Narrating his experience to The Rakyat Post, Abdul Rasidi said he started his career as a bus driver with Mara buses.
“After that, I worked for an express bus company before joining stage bus company RapidKL,” he said.
Go-KL is an initiative provided by the government to help promote public transportation amongst the public in the city centre.
Many locals may still be unaware of this service. The Rakyat Post spoke to several commuters to find out what they thought about it.
One commuter commented that the service was utilised mostly by foreigners, but noted that there were some locals who frequented the free shuttle service.
In light of the fare hike recently, services like Go-KL provides city folks with an alternative, although it currently only serves certain parts of the city centre.
Being a bus driver, Abdul Rasidi noted that among the reasons he decided to join RapidKL, the company that manages Go-KL was the services offered.
“RapidKL for me is the best in terms of its services such as Go-KL, bus frequency and convenience for passengers,” he said.
Rasidi makes about 14 to 16 trips in a day.
To complete a trip, he needs 35 minutes to an hour depending on traffic conditions.
“In terms of work challenges, there can be nuisances from tourists around the world as I drive them along the busiest routes in the city.
“Foreign tourists are impressed as they do not have free bus services in their own country,” said Rasidi, one of the 32 Go-KL bus drivers.
Meanwhile, Operations Executive of Go-KL, Rajen Ellapan noted how some would think that a career as a bus driver had no future, but pointed out that this mentality was wrong because as long as one worked hard, one would taste success.
“I started as a bus driver for the bus company Sri Jaya. The company was then taken over by Intrakota and was subsequently acquired by RapidKL,” he said.
As an employee who has served under three different companies, Rajen said each had its own different style.
“When I was driving for Sri Jaya, I had to work hard to find more passengers in order to earn more in commissions.
“However the commission system was later replaced with allowances and other benefits given by the management,” he said.
He also noted the change in work on buses, citing the days of using the services of bus conductors.
“I still remember the day as I was driving, the bus got stuck in a small alley.
“Fortunately we had a bus conductor. He was the one who helped me turn the steering wheel to get me out of the tight spot,” he said, adding that old buses back then did not have powered steering wheels.
He added that his salary back then was only RM13 a day.
“And I used to work six days a week. Sometimes, even during holidays, I drove the bus which was without air conditioning.
“But since the 80’s, most buses are built complete with air conditioning,” he said.
The Go-KL buses begin its daily operations at 6am and ends at 11pm.
There are two available routes, the green and the purple.
The green route includes bus stops at Suria KLCC, Angkasaraya, Malaysia Tourist Centre (Matic), Concorde Hotel, Wisma Hup Seng, The Weld, Wisma Lom Foo Yong, Pavilion, Ain Arabia, Raja Chulan Monorail, Wisma Rohas Perkasa, Citibank and Wisma Athlan.
The purple route involves bus stops at Central Market, Bangkok Bank, Telekom Museum, Olimpia Tower, KL Tower, The Weld, Wisma Lim Foo Yong, Pavilion, Ain Arabia, Wisma Boustead, Wisma HLA, Bukit Ceylon Junction, and Kota Raya.