DOWN IN THE MEMORY LANE: MINI BUS

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The bus is one of the important transportation for the masses before the launch of the Putra LRT, Star LRT, MRT, Monorail, Uber, and GrabCar. Once upon a time before the launch of these public transport, we either use the bus and taxis. The bus will provide a cheaper option but will drop in the specific stops while the taxi will charge higher fare but will stop right in our preferred destination. For the bus meanwhile, the operator of the bus in Klang Valley is RapidKL, Metrobus, Selangor Omnibus and Len Seng Omnibus. But for the generation of Baby Boomers, Generation X and some of the generation Y, they are one bus that will be remembered and nostalgic as it was the bus operator at that time in Klang Valley and that is the Mini Bus.

The Mini Bus once is the oldest bus operator in the Klang Valley and the operation of this bus was started in 23rd September 1975 under the Malaysian Transportation Ministry. As per the name of the bus, it can accommodate only 20-30 seating passengers. During these time, the mini bus as many colour like blue-white, yellow-white, red-white, purple-white and dark green-white but in the year 1990 under the Deputy Minister of Transport, Datuk Paduka Rahmah Osman, all the mini bus had been standardized to pink and white only and since then the bus earned the nickname of “Pink Lady “.

The Pink Lady

The mini bus was the only mode of bus transportation at the time in Klang Valley as it had operated in nearly sixty different routes and the three major companies that operating the mini bus Syarikat Kerjasama Pengaman (M) Bhd, Bas Mini Wilayah and Konsortium Pengusaha Bas Mini Sdn Bhd had monopolized the route while the other bus operator could operate in the certain areas only in the Klang Valley.

The Mini Bus tiket

The fare for the bus is cheap at the time as the bus fare was only 40 cents when it was launched in 1975 and in 1991 the fare had been increased to 50 cents before it had been increased to 60 cents in 1993. The best part the fare is standardized to all routes. Unlike in the current RapidKL, where they are only a driver and ticketing machine where the passenger needs to insert the exact amount of money, during the mini bus time, they will be 2 people in the bus one is the driver and another one is the bus conductor. The advantages of the bus conductor are that the passenger does not necessarily need to pay exact amount as the conductor can provide the change for the passenger.

Compared with the facilities of the current buses where it is air conditioned, the mini bus is not air conditioned and the passenger needs to open the window to get a fresh air but during the raining season, things can get difficult for them as they are unable to open the window. If the bus had more passenger, the bus will be congested with the standing passenger and some passenger will be forced to stand in the entrance of the bus. Another thing unlike RapidKl where they are 2 entrance, the mini bus had only one entrance and that is the front.

The reason for the bus driver to try to accommodate as much passenger in the bus as possible is because they are operating on a commission basis and they will pay based on the fare they had collected on one day and on how fast they can reach the destination. Due to this, the mini bus had become famous for some death defying stunt during these time as they will drive extremely fast, detouring from original destination, the passenger will be will standing or swinging in the main entrance, the driver taking a movie like a stunt during cornering and much more. In truth before the Mat Rempit, the mini bus driver was notoriously called as Bas Rempit as they like to break the rule. The reason they are doing this is that to outdo their competitor as they are earning based on the commission basis.

After 23 years of service with some nostalgic moments and some stunt by the drivers, the mini bus had been discontinued on 1st July 1998. The operator and the driver had been informed with regards to this 2 years before and it had been replaced by the Intrakota and Cityliner bus who had far better facilities that the mini bus. The fare for this bus when they were launched was different and slight higher were the Intrakota bus charges 90 cents regardless of the destination and the CityLiner bus charges based on the destination.

Cityliner Bus
Intrakota Bus

The mini bus which operated for 23 years starting from 1975 until 1998 had served the Klang Valley masses for a long time. They are some notorious moment from them that will be lived deep in the memory of the masses that had used this bus from the passenger, driver, and conductor, however, they are a nostalgic moment and classic moment from them too. The mini bus had been the most popular transportation method in Klang Valley replacing the taxi at that time.

Although the bus driver made some movie like a stunt, congesting the bus with more passenger as possible to earn more commission and not having enough facilities if compared to the current bus, they are the best mode of transportation during this time due to cheaper fare. Compared to the current bus fares, the mini bus far cheaper and during it 23-year service they had only increased the fare only 2 times where from 40 cents it becomes 60 cents, the final fare before it ceased operation. For those who fall under the generation of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y, the mini bus will forever live in their memory.

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