Rapid Penang rolls on under Rapid Bus

Rapid Penang will continue its bus services under Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd. – Photo by K.E. Ooi
Rapid Penang will continue its bus services under Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd. – Photo by K.E. Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, July 1 – Six years after Rapid Penang Sdn Bhd rolled into the city’s narrow streets,  the company that ran the state’s main public bus transport system closed shop and parked its assets and workforce with the newly-established Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd.

The move is part of a major corporate restructuring exercise by  Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad’s (Prasarana) that started in January to bring back all its wheels under one roof.

Rapid Bus was established as an umbrella body to operate RapidKL, RapidPenang and RapidKuantan bus services.

According to a statement issued today, Prasarana also established three other units during the restructuring exercise; Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd, Prasarana Integrated Management and Engineering Services Sdn Bhd (PRIME) and Prasarana Integrated Development Sdn Bhd (PRIDE).

Rapid Rail is another umbrella body that manages all of Prasarana’s rail businesses namely, Ampang LRT Line (previously STAR LRT), Kelana Jaya LRT (previously PUTRA LRT) and KL Monorail (previous operating under KL StarRail Sdn Bhd).

“With this restructuring exercise to merge all our bus services under one company, we are now one big family under Rapid Bus,” said Rapid Bus chief executive officer Zohari Sulaiman.

The Prasarana Group Director for Bus Division said Rapid Penang Sdn Bhd will be left dormant while its 1,036 strong employees has been transferred to Rapid Bus effective today.

“RapidPenang will remain as a brand for our buses in Penang,” he said.

Rapid Penang Sdn Bhd started operations on July 31 in 2007 with 150 buses supplied by Prasarana.

Now, RapidPenang has 636 bus drivers to operate 320 buses that covers 46 routes including shuttle services for inter corridor links on both the island and the mainland.

Under this restructuring exercise, RapidPenang would solely focus on day-to-day operations and run under the leadership of a new chief operating officer, Major Mohd Shukri Abdul Rahman, who took over from Jamali Soaidin since early this month.

“Jamali is now the project director of our Rapid Bus Expansion Project in Kuala Lumpur and overseeing our plans to expand our operations in other capital cities as aspired by the government,” Zohari said.

He added that with more focus on operations, commuters can expect the bus services for Penang and Butterworth to be further improved.

Earlier today, Zohari together with Prasarana’s group director for human capital Mohd Aiyob Haji Abdul Bahar and key officials from Rapid Bus, visited RapidPenang main depots at Sungai Nibong, Mak Mandin, Weld Quay, Balik Pulau, Tanjung Bungah and Nibong Tebal to distribute offer letters from Rapid Bus to all of the Rapid Penang staff.

“Prasarana had injected a lot of incentives and benefits under Rapid Bus that boosted our operations,” Zohari said.

He said, under this exercise, RapidKuantan has grown in just six months, to operate 12 routes with 47 buses with a daily average ridership of more than 12,000 passengers.

“While we agree that RapidPenang is already an established and well-run operation, there are still plenty of areas that we can improve further to increase the ridership,” Zohari said.

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