The time has come for the southern gateway; the 23 year old Larkin Bus Terminal to receive a major refurbishment with state-of-the-art look and modern operating system after many years of operation that serves almost 27,000 commuters daily.
Larkin Sentral, the 16-acres area that encompasses both bus terminal and the wet market was taken over by a private company under the management of Damansara Assets Sdn Bhd (DASB), a member of Johor Corporation group of companies in 2003.
The RM20 million first phase of upgrade works of Terminal Operation System (TOS) involves relocating all bus ticket kiosks into temporary new counters which will start operating by March this year. The new centralised ticketing system is projected to reduce the disparity of ticket prices.
“Soon for the second renovation phase, we will refurbish and expand the centre area of the terminal which will be transformed into an air-conditioned Departure Hall and equipped with electronic display that can accommodate up to 1000 passengers. That will be a better solution to change the current condition which is too warm while waiting for their buses and also to reduce touting activities in future,” said Larkin Sentral Senior Manager, Yakop Harun when interviewed.
Currently, the 46 available bus bays are being revamped and will be extended to 78 covered bays. It will be then categorised into four different zones which are Arrivals, East Coast, Northern, and Central equipped with traffic control system.
“We have added a couple of features such as 65 CCTV surveillance cameras which will be installed around the terminal for better security. As we also receive handicapped visitors to the terminal, therefore, we will be upgrading our services making it handicapped friendly by installing an elevator for them instead of using the existing cargo lifts at the terminal,” Yakop continued.
When passing outside the terminal, we have seen road users blatantly parking their cars on the roadside for their own convenience especially to avoid parking charges and the parking bays inside are left empty. In order to curb the situation, Yakop explained that the management has a projection to build a seven-storey parking building across the Larkin wet market by end of 2017 with 1000 bays and it will have long-term car park facilities too.
On the other hand, the famous Larkin’s attached wet market has been restored with several tiling work done and tidier placement for 225 business lots that mostly sells fresh goods and other grocery items. These lots are mostly visited by Singaporeans.
“After the renovation, the wet market is in better shape with neater lots, wide pedestrian space, and the environment is well lit. In terms of hygiene, there are times that the management lacks maintenance but all is well for now,” said housewife SIti Khalijah Abd Hamid who shops weekly for fresh fish at the wet market.
It would be productive to have a proper and new bus terminal in future with better services alongside conducive environment as the 1994 building is well known for its busiest bus operation in Johor with many visitors treating it as a one-stop centre for daily goods, food, health services and more.