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As revealed earlier in the year, the state of Johor will flag-off its new free bus service by the middle of April 2016. As part of the state’s pilot project, four local councils have allocated an annual budget of RM11 million to fund the initiative.

According to The Malay Mail, a total of 30 busses will serve at various routes in the Pasir Gudang and Kulai area. The busses will feature a “Bas Muafakat Johor” logo, different colour schemes to match the districts they operate in. Each bus is said to have free WiFi and a CCTV system.

However, while the bus rides may be free, an annual membership card will be required. For adults, the membership card is priced at RM10, while senior citizens, the physically challenged and students aged seven to 17 may have it for RM5. The membership card is free for children under the age of six.

“We estimate that by providing the free bus service, it can help each passenger save up to RM150 a month. Although it is not a lot of money, it is still useful,” said Datuk Latiff Bandi, the local government and housing committee chairman.

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Click to enlarge tentative bus routes.

“We have appointed two bus companies, Handal Indah Sdn Bhd and Maju Bus Service, with good track records in Johor to manage the service. Handal Indah operates a fleet of buses which serves the city and also offers long-haul routes. Maju Bus has been in the transport business for over 30 years,” he added.

Despite the new bus service being free, the chairman insisted that it will offer top quality services, and will be monitored closely by the Johor Public Transport Corporation (JPTC). He reportedly said that rude and reckless drivers will be dealt with by the JPTC. “Free service does not mean poor service,” he exclaimed.

The free bus service is not the first of its kind in Johor. Two years ago, the city council introduced its first free bus service under the “Johor Bahru Di Hati Ku” initiative. But while the latest service offers a total of 30 busses, the previous venture only had six.