Kuala Lumpur ~ Road Transport
Kuala Lumpur Insights


While the city is well connected with highways and roads, travelling from one place to another in this bustling metropolis - just like in most other Asian capitals, can be difficult.

Bus transportation is mediocre. And taxi drivers are notorious for haggling over fares. Still, probably the best way for tourists would be by taxis or using the light railway system those criss-crosses the city.

The Traffic
Congestion and traffic jams are another problem that is increasing plaguing the city.

Factors attributing to this is an increase in car ownership and a shift away from public transport, out migration from Kuala Lumpur and the in and out drive from the city centre. This in addition to the increase in the population growth, and recently the work on the multi-billion dollar MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) project to extend the present LRT (Light Train Transit), with its obstacles, road closures and diversions, has put an ever increasing strain on road travel. The end result: increasing road congestion and street-level pollution.

The high travel demand has been met in large part by private transportation in particular, private cars. As a consequence, there has been congestion and a serious deterioration of travel speed on major roads in many parts of Kuala Lumpur, especially in the City Centre as well as in the east and south, due to major traffic routes operating at or above capacity during peak hours (which is from 07.30 am to about 10.00 am and during 05.00 pm to about 09.00 pm on weekdays).

Self drive
For one whom is not familiar with the roads or the traffic conditions in the city, this will be daunting task, even with the aid of GPS. Care must always be observed when driving and especially be wary of motorcyclist, as they tend to wheeze in and out of traffic.

City Bus Services
Buses generally are air-conditioned and serve to connect commuters to the various parts of the city and its outlying residential areas. Rapid KL is the main service provider of mass public transportation in the city and the Klang Valley via an integrated bus network. RapidKL buses services 6 key areas of the Klang Valley with a total of 165 routes.

This is best left to the locals as the bus system is a bit confusing to the uninitiated. If you do choose to take the bus make sure you have plenty of small change on hand for your fare.

Of interest is the Go - KL City Bus, which is a FREE bus service provided for both visitors and residents of Kuala Lumpur. Comfortable , air-conditioned, the pink coloured single-decker buses cruises two circular routes. (Green Route and Purple Route, each around 7km in length) covering the shopping areas of Bukit Bintang – KLCC - Central Market.

The buses, which are disabled-friendly, run at 5 minute intervals at peak periods and every 15 minutes at other times (which doesn't mean anything when the traffic is bad).

RapidKL bus services has adopted a network concept based on an integration of the LRT (Light Rail Transit) and bus service utilizing a hub and network approach where local pickup shuttles would pick up passengers and feed them into the rail, LRT or bus trunk lines.

These then move the passengers into city hubs where city shuttles and rail then transport these passengers to their final destinations in the city.

RapidKL is to establish a single or uniform brand name with a new network that covers more than 980 residential areas. More buses have already been added to the fleet and operation times have been increased to a whopping 18.5 hours (5.30am to 12 midnight).

With 37,000 taxis in the city, taxis are plentiful in Kuala Lumpur and are usually the easiest way to travel about Kuala Lumpur. There are two types of taxis standard and premium.

Standard taxis are usually smaller sedan cars and can be found easily. The Premium taxis are the bigger more comfortable saloon cars. Start Fares for a standard taxi is RM 3.00 for the first kilometre then 87 sen for each kilometre while that a premium taxi is RM 6.00 for the first kilometre then then RM 2.00 for each kilometre.

While taxis fares are cheap (going by the meter), the taxi drivers here tend to have a reputation of overcharging and taking advantage of the unwary tourist.

Once you get into the taxi it is best to confirm with the taxi driver that the meter will be used and before getting underway - then be sure to check that meter is running.

Most drivers will use the meter but if you do encounter a driver who is unwilling just get out and hail another cab.

Other points to bear in mind - You will be charged RM 1.00 for each bag placed in the boot. There is a RM 1.00 surcharge for taking a taxi from a queue at a hotel. As well as there is a 50% surcharge levied between 12.00 midnight and 6.00am and a 20 sen surcharge per additional passenger.

And lastly be advised meters are often not used outside Kuala Lumpur - in such areas you'll need to bargain the fare before you head off.

Note - The taxi service in Kuala Lumpur has been ranked the third worst among major cities in the world, only ahead of Beijing and Moscow. This was revealed in a recent TripAdvisor Second Annual Cities Survey, involving 54,000 travellers. Some of the issues leading to the taxi service being ranked so low were taxi shortages, tampered meters, excuses for not using the meter or “forgetting” to turn them on, refusing to pick-up or drop passengers as requested and rudeness of taxi drivers.

Taxi Apps
The bright light to this downward taxi scenario, is the introduction of taxi apps. With the increasing use of smartphones, the mobile taxi hailing service, allows passengers to get confirmation of their taxi booking. With the app downloads, passengers can type in their location and destination addresses into the application, with an additional option to tip.

A three-minute countdown will be launched after the passenger confirms the booking, during which the booking request is sent to drivers within the vicinity who are allowed to bid for the job. Passengers will receive an SMS or a call and will be able to view details of the confirmed pick-up taxi driver, including name, handphone number, car plate number, approximate arrival time and estimated fare. You’ll also have to pay a RM2 surcharge which is the standard phone taxi booking rate.

Use secure taxi booking apps, like MyTeksi, TaxiMonger, or EzCab. Drivers are certified safe and all will use taxi-meters. The app will also allow you to contact the assigned driver directly and track his whereabouts on a real time map (however, like all apps, this app will require data access or wifi, which is expensive for overseas phones).
KL Taxi App Downloads - MyTeksi / TaxiMonger / EzCab.

Private Car Transport
It would be best if you plan to do a lot of travelling in and around the city to do so by hiring private car transport with an English speaking driver to take you around.

From around RM 45 0r about USD 15 per hour, the vehicle would be at your disposal without the hassle of looking for transport when you need it or seeking directions or information on places etc. You will in all probability will have gained a friend in the city as well. You can book this service from this site.


Apr 2013 - All Taxis to be standardised

The brown Proton Exora 1.6 MPV will take over as the nationwide standard, replacing all other models in an industry that has long since seen at least a dozen different taxi colours and models.
The new taxi will have debit and credit card facilities, and will gradually replace future budget, premier and executive-class taxis. Fares for the new Exora will start at RM 3.00.

Related Services - Transfers & Vehicle Charters

Transfer services from and to Kuala Lumpur as well as vehicle charter with driver services within the city.



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