|Touts offering tickets to passengers at the bus terminal despite the presence of a Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) patrol car|
TICKET touts at the Pudu Sentral Bus Terminal (formerly known as Puduraya) continue to ply their trade despite the presence of authorities in the area.
A check by Streets saw more than 10 ticket touts doing brisk business in front of the bus terminal next to Ancasa Hotel.
Some of the ticket touts were also seen soliciting customers inside the bus terminal.
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They would gather outside the entrance of the ticketing counters and harass customers who were heading for the counters to purchase the tickets.
To check on the touts' activities at the terminal, a Streets reporter went undercover as a passenger last week.
Within minutes of approaching the entrance of the bus terminal the reporter was stopped by a tout.
The tout then asked her where she was headed for. When the reporter said she needed a ticket to Johor Baru, the man then led the reporter to another tout, who sold her a ticket to Johor Baru for RM35. A ticket to Johor Baru bought at the counters inside the terminal only cost RM30.
The reporter then asked the tout at which platform she should wait for the bus and was told to just "hang around" and look out for the bus registration number, which was hand written on her bus ticket.
He even gave her his business card in case she needed assistance later. Minutes after walking away, she was approached by another tout who had tickets to Johor Baru for RM38. When she said she would get back to him later, the tout gave her his handphone number.
An UDA security personnel, who declined to be named, said that there has been an increase in ticket touts since early this year.
"The number of ticket touts has increased in the last few months. Despite the presence of the authorities, the touts keep returning here," he said.
The security personnel also said that the touts had never left the bus terminal.
"The ticket touts have always been here. They were here before the refurbishment and are still around," he said.
The guard also said the number of touts would increase during festive seasons. Although the touts are still walking freely around the bus terminal selling tickets, members of the public, he said, seem to avoid them unless they were desperate.
Student Kanyakumari Damodaran, 22, who was returning to her hometown in Johor Baru said she had bought tickets from a tout twice. She was disappointed with the service on both occasions.
"The first time around I had to stand in the bus as there was no vacant seat. The second time, I had to get off the bus and get into another halfway through the journey when it should have been a non-stop ride," said Kanyakumari.
"I now buy tickets from the counters because I can be rest assured that the prices will not be hiked up at their (touts) whim and fancy."
Kamalkhalid Kamarludin, 29, a graphic designer from Kuantan, said he avoids the touts because he doesn't want to get cheated.
"I have read and heard many cases of people paying exorbitant prices for tickets. I don't want to fall into that trap," he said.
Kamalkhalid said the authorities should act against the touts.
SPAD officers at the bus terminal said that they were aware of the problem and a special unit has been set up to nab the touts.
When contacted later, an officer with the SPAD corporate communications unit said it would look into the matter.