Buses play an important role in the overall transport system because they provide first and last mile connectivity in busy towns and cities and remain a primary mode of transport in areas that are not covered by other public transit routes.
In Peninsular Malaysia, the stage bus annual ridership for 2014 stood at 68 million for areas other than Kuala Lumpur, and 155 million for Kuala Lumpur alone. This represents about 70% of stage bus ridership in Malaysia.
Since 2012, SPAD has retained stage bus services through the Interim Stage Bus Support Fund to sustain the operations of 175 stage bus operators and 659 routes. This has benefited more than 330,000 passengers per day.
Following this, SPAD developed myBAS under the Stage Bus Transformation Programme (SBST) in 2015 to address the root problems faced by the stage bus industry. Under this programme, the Federal Government will invest RM100 million in key cities including Kangar, Seremban, Ipoh, and Kuala Terengganu to improve the rakyat’s mobility and accessibility, where stage buses still remain the backbone of public transportation.
2015 also saw the commencement of operations for the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Malaysia, ie. the Sunway BRT Line, a 7 kilometre elevated track from Sunway Setia Jaya to USJ 17 Subang Jaya, jointly managed by Prasarana and Sunway Group.
To make buses a better option in Greater KL/Klang Valley, SPAD implemented the Bus Network Revamp (BNR) initiative in 2015. The revamp was designed to resolve the uneven stage bus services by increasing bus capacity in congested routes and deploying new routes in underserved areas and neighbourhoods to drive a wider bus network. The BNR also streamlined the bus route numbering system so that it is standardised across all its operators. In the mid to long term period, the BNR aims to help the bus industry remain sustainable by reducing a disproportionate number of bus operators competing to serve selected routes.