Caught (up) in traffic

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Daily Archives: May 17, 2012

Melaka central bus terminal

Trips between Singapore and Malaysia are quite frequent given the proximity between the two countries (Singapore used to be part of Malaysia.) with a lot of people employed just across the borders and Malaysia being a popular destination for shopping and recreation. In fact, the first Premium Outlet in Asia is located in Johor, Malaysia, which is just across the border from Singapore. On a weekend trip to Melaka (Malacca), we took an express bus that made only 3 stopovers including one each for immigration control/processing in Singapore (exit) and Malaysia (entry). On the way back, we only had an extra stopover due to a fellow passenger requesting for a toilet break.

Arriving at Melaka, I was impressed with the central bus terminal, a sprawling complex that connected with commercial establishments around it. Inside the terminal, there are many shops and restaurants so one doesn’t need to leave the terminal to eat or to make some last minute shopping. Good buys are rubber sandals much like those being sold under Brazilian brands. Malaysia is a major producer of rubber and the sandals made in Malaysia are of high quality but less expensive than the Brazilian and perhaps Chinese counterparts.

Terminal building and parking

A look at the spacious parking area around the terminal.

Directional sign to guide visitors (probably sponsored by the emporium indicated at the bottom).

Pedestrian overpass for people crossing the busy highway in front of the terminal.

There are many restaurants and shops inside the terminal, which is by itself a commercial establishment.

Hotel/accommodations information for travelers are posted at the terminal.

The different bus companies operating out of the terminal have their booths were travelers may buy/reserve tickets.

The ticketing area is spacious and there were no long lines, in part due to the availability of online (internet) ticket purchases. Seating is not free for all so travelers need to reserve or purchase tickets ahead of travel in order to get good schedules and seats.

One can purchase tickets to any point in Malaysia (local long distance trips) and Singapore (another country) is among the most popular destinations. Schedules and fares are posted for information of travelers.

There are many choices among the bus companies but I would strongly recommend Starmart Express buses when traveling between Singapore and Malaysia. They provide excellent service and have well-maintained buses. One can purchase tickets online and claim these at their booths/stations.

Interactive information screen at the terminal

Static information board for the locations of bus company booths at the terminal

Travelers lining up before a booth to purchase tickets

Buses berthed at the terminal departure area

Typical long distance limousine bus plying routes between Malaysia and Singapore

The central bus terminal at Melaka is a good example of terminal design for long distance buses. Such concepts are also found in the Philippines but with some significant variations in the design. Among the notables are the terminals in Mabalacat (Pampanga), Lucena (Quezon) and Legazpi City (Albay) in Luzon. Other terminals in the Philippines are not good examples in the sense that many are not developed or well-planned, many without the amenities or features of a modern terminal. Perhaps local and international examples of terminals should serve as templates for central terminal development in the Philippines including those being conceptualized for Metro Manila.