I was cheated by a bus tout in Kuala Lumpur

I had the most harrowing experience ever in Kuala Lumpur. And I hope that you did not go through what I did. So I’m posting this to let everyone know and hopefully learn from our experience.

My mum and I spent the weekend in Kuala Lumpur to get some items for the wedding in an area called Masjid India, where there were plentiful of Malay wedding paraphernalia to be found.

After buying our items, we were ready to go home and we headed to Puduraya, which is a very famous bus interchange in Kuala Lumpur. When we went up to the ticketing counter, located on the second floor, there were about 20 touts hovering around us, hassling us to buy their tickets.

I asked them how much the tickets costs. First it was RM$35. Which I thought was really expensive as the standard price was RM $25. But after using their walkie talkies, they then suddenly raised the price to RM $40.

There was this female tout who suddenly grabbed my arm and told me sarcastically not to be fussy and just buy her $40 Ringgit ticket as everyone else was selling it at the price.

Surrounded in a chaotic situation, I got annoyed and shot back at her, “Its my money! I’ll spend it how I like!” And in the corner, I heard someone shout out $60 Ringgit as a ticket price. That’s so outrageous!

There were a number of ticket counters – about 60 altogether. My mum and I walked over to one counter that we knew was legitimate – The Causeway Express. It was 2 pm at the time.

Unfortunately, the 2.30 pm coach was sold out and the next earliest coach was at 5.30 pm.

Not wanting to wait for 3 hours, we had to relent and buy one from another counter where most of the touts were swarming. I found a ticket being sold at $35 for a bus leaving at 3.15 and at the specified time, my mum and I went to the platform and a coach came in. According to the ticket, it had the bus number and I was supposed to enter it.

But there was a man at the entrance and after checking our ticket, he said that both mum and I were not allowed to enter. He told us that it was not our bus and that the next bus would be arriving soon. I was surprised but we waited anyway as there were other passengers who were in the same predicament as us.

Another bus went by and once again the same thing, someone checked our ticket and would not let us in, saying that our bus will be the next bus.

The same thing repeated over the next hour.

One hour! I was losing my temper and started to show my displeasure at one of the touts. They were rude and extremely unprofessional. They shouted at us, told us to wait and never gave an apology or pacified us for being late.

All of a sudden, we were herded to another platform and told to wait for the coach there. I was highly suspicious. What were we doing there? Why are we following them? Didn’t the ticket say that we were supposed to wait at this platform?

Eventually, there was a group of about 40 people which formed and we were hearded outside of the depot and walked towards where a coach was. Why here?

But at the time, I was grateful that we finally had a bus to sit on. It was already 6 pm. We had been waiting for the bus for over 3 hours!

But just as I was getting comfortable on the bus, there were two guys with the walkie talkies entered, checked our tickets again and said, this ticket is 35 ringgit. Seats in this bus costs 40 ringgit. You need to give another 5 ringgit.

I was EXTREMELY upset.

You made us wait for 3 hours and we still have to pay YOU more money? You should be compensating us instead!

Instead, he spouted some sort of bullshit about oil prices being expensive and that the bus needs at least $1500 Ringgit for its journey and that the bus will not move if he does not meet the amount.

There was a person sitting in front of me who could not tolerate it and the both of them escalated in a shouting match. Eventually, the ticket-checker challenged the passenger to meet his boss and grabbed his arm and the both of them very nearly fought in the bus.

But in the end, being pressured to go home, unwillingly they topped up the amount.

My mum was being very brave. She calmly told the ticket-checkers to settle it among themselves as they both has checked our tickets repeatedly and has never mentioned anything about the ticket being $40 and that they were the ones who lead us here.

I heard the guy mention to the other guy, “Lets just forget about the ulat (illegal-profit) for these ones”

And that was when I realised that we have been conned. How can it be? After all, we bought our tickets from a legitimate counter! All sorts of thoughts went through my mind wildly.

After the long bus journey back to Larkin (a bus interchange in Johore Bahru) I noticed that we did not enter the bus interchange either. I was surprised. The passenger sitting next to me then explained that unlicensed drivers don’t enter the bus interchange as they do not want to be caught.

So we’ve were in an unlicensed bus. We were cheated! We were sold fake tickets by a counter and handled by a tout!

I’ve travelled by coach a number of times before but this must have been the most incredibly worst ever experience that I’ve ever had while travelling in Malaysia. I really don’t want to go through this again!

But its made us all the wiser. And I hope that you don’t experience the same thing that we went through. So if you are travelling to Kuala Lumpur, my advice to you is to always book a legitimate bus service and get your tickets in advance before you leave.

Some of the credible services a

  • Causeway Link
  • Transnational
  • Mara Liner

Colleagues has also adviced me to take the coach from IMM or from Jurong Point and they allow two way travel.

Do NOT at any circumstances ever take the bus from Delima Express nor buy from the counter 93. The bus that we took has the plate number BGU 3615.

Even Malaysians are tired of the Puduraya Touts as seen in these blogposts here and here. If you know anyone who’s travelling to Malaysia by coach, please feel free to forward this post to them.

18 thoughts on “I was cheated by a bus tout in Kuala Lumpur”

  1. i’ve been bitten once.

    what i do is to get 2 way tickets from sg, from reputable companies like transnational and transtar.

    what i can not believe, is how these con companies can continue till today. is there no government?

  2. Sorry to hear about your experience. It’s really scary and shocking to have such things happen to you. My gosh. I hope this serves as a warning to all. Do update us on this!

  3. Sigh … for me (as far as possible) I always to buy my return tickets as soon as I reach my Malaysian destination to avoid having to deal with these crooks in a tight situation.

    To add to your list of legitimate bus companies (but tickets are often sold out at the weekends), I always choose:

    – Sri Maju (the one owned by Michelle Yeoh)
    – Super Coach

    More HORRIBLE bus companies I’ve seen:

    – Wira Express
    – Andaraya

    Actually your ticket price of RM35 can still be considered ‘reasonable’ (albeit the haywire fluctuations) coz it’s weekend (was it 3 seats per row?) but asking you to top-up when you’re already onboard is the first time I’ve heard!

  4. I feel sorry for you and your mum to have to go through that kind of experience.

    I was lucky enough as I have met a nice taxi driver who told me to go straight to the bus counter and not talk to anyone selling tickets. I didnt know why at lst, but later I did. Alot of guys approaching me and pursed me to buy their tickets. Rude and irritating.

    So do remember not to buy any ticket from the roadside. Only buy from the counters are inside.

    Take care~

  5. Paced

    Apparently, we can in vendors in IMM and Jurong Point it seems. We learnt about it too late, unfortunately. I’ll remember that next time I go to Kuala Lumpur.

    Malique

    I think that there is not enough awareness of the avenue to lodge a complain about it, I suppose :

    Ms Loi

    Thank you for the list, I think that it is very helpful. And no, it wasn’t a 3 row seater bus. It was a 40 seater bus with 2 rows on each side – which isn’t a bad bus, but no one should be treated the way we were treated.

    And they still asked for money afterwards!

    Its unjustified.

    Jacelyn

    Even if I cant reach to everybody, I hope that I could at least a couple of people be enlightened about the situation.

    Gerald Lum

    We DID buy the tickets from the counter.

    Both the counter and the touts and the driver are all in cahoots with each other.

  6. I had a similiar experience in Guangzhou when I was alone there in 1998. Tickets bought from counter somemore, only to find that the tickets didn’t get me where I wanted to go.. learnt to wisen up ever since.

  7. And you guys still complain about Singapore and PAP not doing enough. Lesson learnt here is : Travel abroad and compare to see the real deal you’re getting here before you start saying no freedom no chewing gum PAP go eat shit.

  8. Nic

    Its an expensive and invaluable lesson to be learnt … but its still a horrible experience to go through. I am sorry that you had to go through that.

    Schmin

    I dont quite understand what you mean. Do you mind rephrasing it a little clearer?

    Considering that, we have travelled to Kuala Lumpur before as well as other long journeys in Malaysia, this is the first time that we’ve seen the touts overly behaving this way.

    And there some of the commenters here are Malaysians themselves. And if you’ve read my post, many of the passengers in the bus with us are Malaysians too. I dont think it would be fair to call them “untravelled”

    Why are we talking about PAP when the topic is about Bus Touts anyway.

    Musxart

    Thanks for the backing up 🙂

    Anyway the point of this blog post is to educate other people not to fall into the same experience that I did.

    In no way am I bashing Malaysia or saying that Singapore is better. People who think that needs to read the post CAREFULLY

  9. i always encourage ppl to go for aeroline. they have a website n u can do the tix purchase (2way) online. only bad thing is u cant change the ticket without incurring costs. but a lot of other benefits.. great bus with huge comfy seats, no hassle to go look for tix either at golden mile or pudu or larkin wherever, big company so u know its safe n u r not being conned, many timings for both ways each day n time is all fixed. sure u pay more, but u get convenience n comfort in return. its a small fee to pay, imho..

  10. wow! Yours sounded just like mine!
    But worse was that I had to pay $40 for a ticket to Singapore from Puduraya but I ended up in Larkin and the bus driver said that the unlicensed bus cannot go through the SG checkpoint. So I had to take a taxi back (paying like S$10 more) because it was past mid-night.

    Sigh. I’ve learned my lesson already. 🙁

  11. Daphne

    Thanks heaps for the link. I didnt realise that you could book the bus online. It is so much more convenient this way.

    Herry

    Thanks for the recommendations. Wow, keep those links coming! Its heartening to see more legitimate bus companies. No need to support the touts!

    Firdooze

    I’m really sorry to hear that. Those touts are really ruthless. I think in this case, we both learnt our lesson. Albeit a very painful and expensive one.

  12. Hey there! Was linked here from Cozycot and decided to kaypoh around your blog.

    This is one of the reasons why I dislike M’sia. =( I think if I have to visit there, die die will take aeroplane. Or at least buy a 2 way.

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