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Thursday, 24 May 2018

(The Star) Melaka to phase out double-decker and electric buses

State to focus on providing free services in town and improving inter-state transport

MELAKA: Double-decker and electric-powered buses will be taken off Melaka roads as a cost-cutting measure by state-owned bus company Panaroma Melaka, said Transport, Works and Public Amenities Committee chairman Mohd Sofi Abdul Wahab.

Panaroma Melaka was established six years ago after the former state government acquired the stage bus companies servicing about 130 routes in the state.

Two used double-decker buses were procured in 2008 while a pair of the electric version made their debut here in 2015 after an agreement was made with Shangai Automotive Industry Corporation of China to supply the vehicles.

Mohd Sofi said the vehicles were no longer viable and would be phased out.

“The maintainance cost for the buses is very high and we do not want to continue wasting money.

“Our focus now is on providing a free bus service between Melaka Sentral bus terminal and Melaka Hospital, and Melaka International Trade Centre in Ayer Keroh,” he said in an interview.

Panaroma Melaka general manager Abu Bakar Jani was also present during the interview.

Mohd Sofi said the buses were introduced as a tourist attraction in addition to ferrying daily commuters.

He said the state was now working on improving bus services to various locations, including to Tebong, Tampin, Muar and Tangkak in Johor, by increasing the frequency and efficiency.

Therefore, he said 28 out of 60 buses that were under repair had been restored and the fleet management company commissioned by the previous government was summoned to provide solutions for the remaining buses.

“We hope to put a few more buses back in service to address the woes faced by those commuting daily to work and to schools,” he said, adding that 46 drivers were employed by Panaroma Melaka.

On long-term measures, Mohd Sofi said the state had decided to work with established concessionaires of public bus service such as Rapidkl and Mybas, to manage the service in Melaka.

He said the new service was expected to be introduced by next year once the Transport Ministry gave them the greenlight.

Panaroma Melaka was established six years ago after the former state government acquired the stage bus companies servicing about 130 routes in the state.